Feminism to gender-lens

Next Billion Tech

It all began when I was in the eighth standard. My father introduced me to theoretical physics and spirituality, and this interest continued throughout my college years. But a gnawing needs to do more than research lead me to work with social sector organizations. That triggered the activist and feminist within, and I started 'Let's stop sexism,' an initiative to promote gender equality. Many branded me as "controversial," and I found very little support among my peers and professors alike. Lonely and egged by my father to explore social activism online, I landed working in social entrepreneurship and gender-lens & impact investing.

After seven years, I met these two wonderful women, Suzanne Biegel and Robin Lim, who reignited my thoughts around gender equality. I am going to push myself more to give back more to the gender-equality movement by integrating feminism with capitalism, isn't it amazing? That's precisely how gender lens is pushing the agenda of gender equality and equity, and this time, I am ready, and I am competent (hopefully).

In this post, I want to walk you through some examples, insights, and strategies regarding gender lens investing thesis, i.e., giving concrete examples of what a gender lens investment thesis and what kind of ventures to back?

Why to also invest in business models that cater to women & girls? 

The reason is simple; it allows them to reach their full potential and make more vibrant economies possible - as future customers & decision-makers, as untapped markets, as influencers, as employees, suppliers, employers, and ambassadors.

Where to invest? 

The five critical impact investment areas for girls and young women are:

  • Education: upskilling, skilling, life-skills and access to schools & universities
    E.g., CENTA, Kadafrica

  • Employability: access to jobs, increase in income, career progress, and grow in economic resilience
    E.g., Koe Koe Tech

  • Financial Security: help women save and invest better, improve financial security, and access to financial services like credit, insurance, and savings
    E.g., Tala, Zoona

  • Safety: creating a safe environment for women and girls to flourish
    E.g., Safetipin, SafeBoda

  • Healthcare: access to healthcare services (nurses, doctors, midwives, medicines, contraceptives) and access to nutritional food options.
    E.g., Kasha, DrinkWell

Women and Girls are not beneficiaries:

We must stop seeing women and girls as victims and beneficiaries but start viewing them as users, as customers, as employers, and as entrepreneurs. There is a market opportunity mostly untapped, which entrepreneurs and investors should target.

If we want to make society equitable, inclusive, and equal, we need to give women and girls the following:

  • Access to essential products and services as well as supportive social networks & role models

  • Choice, affordable & quality education, healthcare, financial services, better employment opportunities, and diverse career path options

  • Voice, have the voice to decide the path to chose the choice

  • Agency, can act or intervene in a 21st-century environment

What is gender-lens? 

Lastly, it's essential to invest in business models, products & services which are designed keeping women and girls users in mind (contextualizing to their needs and wants), which means making it inclusive and not exclusive. It means a lot of existing models, products, and services need rethinking.

The gender lens doesn't mean just investing in women entrepreneurs, fund managers, and solutions that only cater to women and girls as users but investing in solutions that are inclusive, gender-neutral, and not-exclusive to any gender.

Please use this link to read the full investor toolkit by SPRING Accelerator.

I am continuously looking for gender-lens solutions that are highly impactful and scalable with a substantial market opportunity. If you are building one or investing in one in Indonesia or SEA, please do write to me, I would love to learn more from you.

With Love,



"first followers" is founded by Sagar Tandon, a founding member at Moonshot Ventures. You can reach him at sagar@moonshotventures.org.

Occasionally, he blogs about the responsible investing, tech for good, venture capital, investment thesis, conscious capitalism, collaborative consumption, community, and humane lifestyle.