Recent Posts

SEAF Releases GES(C) Manual

SEAF Releases GES(C) Manual

SEAF publishes GES© Manual to Enhance Women’s Economic Empowerment Framework


LOCATION – 14 July 2020 At today’s Closing and Commitments session at the Gender Smart Virtual Programme, Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (“SEAF”) announced that their women’s economic empowerment journey has reached another milestone with the launch of the SEAF Gender Equality Scorecard© Manual (the “GES© Manual”). SEAF has committed to support greater investor adoption of gender smart investing by collaborating on the harmonization of women’s economic empowerment frameworks and gender equality tools, creation of SME entrepreneur onboarding tools as well as the transitioning of the management of GES© to an academic institution who will instill the discipline and systematic gathering of GES© data and normalization of analysis across the impact investment and private funds community. With the development of the GES© database of analyzed private companies, researchers will be better equipped to test hypotheses around the correlation between gender equality and business performance, including financial or social outcomes.

The GES© Manual builds upon SEAF’s work on the SEAF Gender Equality Scorecard©, a proprietary tool SEAF developed to assess women’s economic empowerment and gender equality within growth-orientated small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”). The GES© Manual gives clear guidance to investment and gender professionals on how to utilize the GES© when assessing a company’s demonstrated commitment to gender equality by focusing on six gender equality performance vectors, namely pay equity, women’s workforce participation, gender diverse leadership and governance, benefits and professional development, safe and healthy workplace environment; and women-power value chains. In addition, the GES© identifies the areas for improvement and determines gender improvement plans that investment professionals can use as part of their portfolio company value creation work.

The overarching goal of the GES© is to provide companies, organizations and/or funds with a due diligence and gender lens investing tool to calculate a consistent and comparable gender score which can be tracked over time as users implement gender smart interventions and to enable these scores to be housed in an independent database accessible to academics and other researchers seeking to test various hypotheses around the correlation between gender equality and wider diversity and business performance, either financial or social.

SEAF believe that opportunities exist to build value in SMEs by shaping gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in company leadership, business practices, workforce policies and compensation. The GES© has already been tested by other institutions with a shared vision, including the People Management of the Philippines, who recognized the important role of women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in the Philippines and has adopted the GES© as a screening tool for their prestigious Employer of the Year Award.

To date, SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard© has been formally rolled out throughout its global platform in both its due diligence and post-investment value creation processes as part of SEAF’s commitment to propelling women’s economic empowerment and improving gender equality globally. The tool has now been widely circulated across the impact investment and development finance community and has been integrated, or is in the process of being integrated, into the investment processes of several organizations. The development of GES© Manual will allow for adoption of the Scorecard widely, beyond SEAF partners and investments. The GES© Manual is positioned to be a global tool for both impact investors and SMEs who are committed to gender equality.

The development of GES© Manual would not have been possible without the valuable inputs and guidance from key stakeholders in the gender lens community, including in particular Suzanne Biegel of Catalyst at Large and Joy Anderson at the Criterion Institute. These partners have championed SEAF’s work in women’s economic empowerment and guided the refinement of its investment framework to focus not only on women entrepreneurs but also women as leaders, employees, consumers and role models. SEAF is appreciative of the insightful Gender Equality Scorecard© Manual inputs provided by Catalyst at Large, Criterion Institute, UN ESCAP, Investing in Women, and members of Development Finance Institutions who form part of the 2X Challenge, Women of the World Endowment and Global Impact Investing Network.

“Today, I am humbled with gratitude as I have witnessed a community coming together across the globe to generously share their expertise, knowledge and connections enabling us to reach a significant milestone in advancing women’s economic empowerment with the launch of the GES© Manual.” said SEAF Senior Managing Director Jennifer Buckley. “There is of course more work to be done, but we as a community, should be proud of our collective efforts towards enabling women’s workforce participation and equity in business”.

Jonathan Wong, ESCAP’s Chief of Technology and Innovation stated that “SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard© demonstrates the importance of partnership in advancing gender equality and working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. ESCAP has provided technical inputs to the tool and is proud to partner with SEAF in advancing gender lens investing in Asia. The scorecard is a useful tool to support investment due diligence through a gender lens and provides companies with a gender score which allows them to have a benchmark upon which to further improve.”

About SEAF

SEAF is a global impact investment fund manager targeting both financial returns and significant social impact by providing capital, capacity building, and a global network to support small and medium-sized business expansion. As an emerging market investor, SEAF is particularly focused on women’s economic empowerment and gender equality, equal opportunity in health and education, clean energy and smart solutions, sustainability in agribusiness, financial and technological inclusion, and displaced and migrant lens investing. Since 1989, SEAF has invested in over 400 companies in 32 countries. SWOF’s investment in Organica was recently awarded the AVCJ Responsible Investment of the Year 2019. For more about SEAF, see For more information on SEAF’s activity in gender lens investing, please contact Jennifer Buckley at

About ESCAP’s Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme

This initiative is implemented under a regional programme initiative titled ‘Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship: Creating a Gender-Responsive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem’ funded by the Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada, and implemented by ESCAP. The programme aims to support the growth of women entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific region through addressing the challenges faced at three levels: enabling policy environment, access to finance and use of ICT for entrepreneurship.

About Gender Smart

GenderSmart is a global initiative dedicated to unlocking gender-smart capital at scale. We do this by building the capacity and connectivity of gender finance investment influencers and thought leaders, intermediaries, and experts. Some join with a primary focus on gender equality, some focus on the power of women making markets. Some have a primary commitment to issues such as the climate crisis, education, health, or human rights. All share a common belief that together, we can move more gender-smart capital, more strategically, and spark real and lasting change throughout the globe.

Our work revolves around a clear bias for action, shared learning, and dialogue; it is only in unison that we can unlock the thriving, just, and equitable world we all know is possible. We amplify the field’s successes and innovations, challenge static thinking, and hold each other accountable.,/p>