British International Investment
16 March 2020

CDC Group, GIIN and the 2X Challenge create aligned gender impact metrics in major boost to advance women’s economic empowerment and gender equality

CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), and the 2X Challenge, today unveiled new aligned metrics and associated guidance to measure the gender impact of investments.

The 2X Challenge indicators were created by the Gender Finance Collaborative, a group of DFIs led by CDC, in close collaboration with the 2X Challenge. CDC then worked with the GIIN to ensure that these indicators aligned to the gender metrics set out in GIIN’s IRIS+, the generally accepted system for measuring, managing and optimising impact.

The aligned gender impact metrics are the culmination of this partnership to create an industry standard that will enable the global investment community to better measure the gender impact of their financial commitments.

Within the field of impact investing, the emergence of Gender-Smart Investing (GSI) has been rapid. In 2018, 496 institutional asset owners reported that they applied gender-lens criteria to $868bn in assets – more than double the $397 billion identified in 2016.

But continued growth of GSI had been complicated by the absence of a standardised suite of metrics to measure and monitor if and how investments contribute to advancing gender equality.

CDC, GIIN and the 2X Challenge are now working with other organisations that are heavily involved in GSI in a bid to use the newly created 2X Challenge indicators and the equivalent IRIS metrics as the basis of a single unified measurement system for the global investment industry.

In total, 15 DFIs with over $113 billion in assets under management, have already signed up to adopt the 2X Challenge indicators, with other multinational financial institutions expected to follow suit in the coming months.

The widespread adoption of the 2X Challenge indicators will enable improved benchmarking across the industry and will ultimately lead to better gender impact performance by helping to drive efficiencies in the way both investors and investees report.

Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of CDC, said:

“With an ever-increasing number of investors looking to enter the GSI arena, we now have common gender metrics that will give us a sense of the scale, breadth and depth of impact. That is vital to the continued development and growth in efforts to further women’s economic empowerment.”

Sonia Jordan-Kirwan, Executive, Gender Equality & Women’s Economic Empowerment, at CDC, and lead author of the guidance note, added: “Previously investors would have had to create their own gender metrics, which were out of sync with those of others. This meant that it was impossible to get a sense of what was happening at an industry level in terms of the amount of money being mobilised towards women or the collective impact this was having.”

Anne-Marie Lévesque, Chair of the 2X Challenge Working Group, and Head, Gender and Impact at FinDev Canada, said: “The 2X Challenge started as a major new commitment from DFIs to unlock resources that will help advance women’s economic empowerment and gender equality. Since then, the Challenge and its Criteria have attracted considerable attention as a tool for gender-lens investing and are now being adopted by DFIs and other investors at an impressive rate. These new aligned metrics and associated guidance make it even easier for investors everywhere to adopt the 2X Criteria and indicators and increase the impact of their investments on women’s economic empowerment”.

Amit Bouri, Co-Founder & CEO, GIIN, said: “We cannot achieve gender equality without changing the way the world invests. The alignment between the GIIN’s IRIS+ system and 2X Challenge’s indicators harmonizes efforts around gender smart investing globally. Through clear and consistent data, investors can sharpen their focus on producing real results, driving impact performance, and achieving the goal we all seek to advance gender equality and economic empowerment of women around the world.”

A guidance note for investors entitled “How to Measure the Gender Impact of Investments: Using the 2X Challenge Indicators in Alignment with IRIS+” is available to download here:


Media Contact:

Andrew Murray-Watson, CDC Group

  1. +44 20 7036 4353
  2. [email protected]


About CDC:

CDC Group is the UK’s first impact investor with over 70 years of experience of successfully supporting the sustainable, long-term growth of businesses in South Asia and Africa.

CDC is a leading player in the fight against climate change and a UK champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – the global blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for us all.

The company has investments in over 1,200 businesses in emerging economies and a total portfolio value of £5.8bn. This year CDC will invest over $1.5bn in companies in Africa and Asia with a focus on fighting climate change, empowering women and creating new jobs and opportunities for millions of people.

CDC is funded by the UK government and all proceeds from its investments are reinvested to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa and South Asia.

CDC’s expertise makes it the perfect partner for private investors looking to devote capital to making a measurable environmental and social impact in countries most in need of investment.


About the 2X Challenge

The 2X Challenge was launched in June 2018 as a major new commitment of the development finance institutions (DFIs) from the G7 countries to unlock resources that will help advance women’s economic empowerment and gender equality. These DFIs have since been supporting investments and initiatives that provide women in developing countries with access to leadership opportunities, quality forms of employment, finance, enterprise support, as well as products and services that enhance the inclusion or economic participation of women and girls.

Since the launch, six new DFI members have joined to expand the commitment: BIO-Invest, Finnfund, FMO, IFU, SIFEM, and Swedfund. In October 2019, the EIB became the first multi-lateral development.

A guidance note for investors entitled “How to Measure the Gender Impact of Investments: Using the 2X Challenge Indicators in Alignment with IRIS+” is available to download.


About IRIS+

IRIS+ is the generally accepted system for impact investing stakeholders to measure, manage, and optimise their impact. IRIS+ provides a standard way for investors to frame impact goals, outlines ways to measure progress in a waythat produces clear, consistent, and comparable data (Core Metrics Sets), offers a built-in evidence base of research linking those common impact goals to achievable outcomes, as well as curated best-in-class third-party resources, and practical, how-to guidance to advance impact measurement and management practice.

IRIS+ is a free, publicly available resource managed by the GIIN, the global champion of impact investing. Developed with broad stakeholder input, IRIS+ can be used end-to-end as an impact measurement and management system, or to underpin other standards, methodologies, and assessment tools by employing the use of standard IRIS metrics.

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