Published by
MEDA - Mennonite Economic Development Associates
Published on
August 2019
3 surveys that take 10 minutes each to fill out

Key Learnings

  • Gender is underrepresented in the ESG standards, which are widely used by investors and capacity builders as a way to sustain a company’s competitive advantage (Morgan Stanley, 2017) while contributing to impact.
  • The GEM Framework emphasizes considerations of the business, market and local context. MEDA works with business to understand their business operations and strategy in order to assist the firm to co-identify and co-create strategies to mainstream gender considerations into the firm’s policies and practices. Following identification, companies implement gendered business action plans with the dual objective of achieving improved business performance and increased inclusion of women.
  • The GEM Framework works best when there is some sex-disaggregated data already being collected by a company, i.e. employees, supply chain, etc.; however, it is not a requirement.


Researchers have found a correlation between companies with high ESG integration and those that are well-managed and profitable (Friede, Busch and Bassen, 2015). In current applications of ESG, however, gender is often underleveraged because it is pigeonholed in the ‘social’ component of ESG. The GEM Framework mainstreams gender equality considerations across all three ESG components to both unlock the financial potential resulting from the empowerment of women and to contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The Gender Equality Mainstreaming (GEM) Framework is a practical guide and toolkit to assess gender equality, and identify, implement and measure gender equality mainstreaming strategies within companies. Designed for organizations seeking financial and impact returns through investing or providing support to companies, the guide is applicable to a wide range of capacity builders (e.g. accelerators, technical assistance providers, NGOs) and investors (e.g. private equity funds, government donors, foundations). The ultimate aim of the framework is to transform companies to be more gender equitable while supporting business growth and impact.

This toolkit is relevant for you if...

... you are a capacity builder, company or investor who is interested in examining the question: How does gender impact business performance? GEM is a business strategy approach where gender-inclusive initiatives must enhance business goals or address business constraints/risks. The toolkit also features an online self-assessment.


Gender Equality Mainstreaming (GEM) Framework

The GEM self-assessment measures a company’s performance on ESG components. Designed for companies to complete themselves, the self-assessment builds upon the ESG investment standard by mainstreaming gender across a range of ESG criteria. The GEM self-assessment assists businesses to identify these types of value creation opportunities that can improve a company’s standing among its competitors.

The GEM self-assessment is made up of three surveys. As such, you will receive three emails, each with a link to one of the three ESG component surveys. Before starting a survey, please review the GEM Self-Assessment Guidance Document.

GEM Self-Assessment Guidance Document

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