American University of Beirut



Investors and employers across the MENA region have the opportunity to accelerate women's inclusion in the economy through Gender-Lens Investing (GLI). GLI uses market systems and finance to improve economic opportunities, with the aim of contributing to equitable development.  GLI is an approach to investing that targets and improves investment processes and structures in order to advance women's inclusion in the workforce.

Across all sectors of MENA economies, women continue to be excluded from decision-making roles and are under-represented in the workforce. According to the KIP index (2022), representation of women in decision-making ranks the lowest in both sectors and countries. GLI can change that reality by investing financial capital to enhance women's inclusion by assessing and rectifying any barriers in the process or structure that often lead to the exclusion/exploitation of women in workplaces, the economy and across the supply chain.

Investing with the goal of gender equity can change societies, improve economies, and bolster organizational performance. ​​​​

Both investors and employers have an interest in GLI. 1) Investors can increase their financial returns, while also ensuring fair and dignified working conditions and opportunities and 2) inclusive and responsible employers can have better access to capital to expand their operations.


Investors can direct financing towards organizations and employers who rank high on diversity and inclusion defined by SAWI GLI ranking across a spectrum of four criteria:



GLI has a strong track-record of success facilitating women's inclusion in the workforce and fostering more equitable societies. It has also demonstrated being good for business and investment-returns because it leads to better:

> Financial return for investors
> Value Creation for sustainable societies
> Dignified work condition for women
> Investment opportunities for all
Workplace diversity  
​Attention to dignified opportunities and transactions across supply chains
GLI has the potential to enhance gender equality and equity and generate financial returns by channeling capital to leverage the positive social impact of gender equity. ​

> Enhanced Gender Equality
> Empowerment of Women
> Improved Workforce Diversity
> Community Development
Reduction in Gender Disparities
> Increased Financial Inclusion
> Positive Impact on Families
> Economic Growth
> Long-Term Sustainability
> Socially Responsible Investing



Support to Accelerate Women's Inclusion (SAWI) is the inaugural project commitment to partnerships that transforms workplace policies and practices. Together with our employers across the MENA region, we are beginning to invest in structural changes that lead to more gender-equitable recruitment, retention and promotion in workplaces. We are calling all investors and capital providers to work with us towards the following objectives: ​

1) Lead a regional conversation around GLI in the MENA.
2) Map and build a network of trailblazing inclusive publicly listed employers based on four criteria centering on a commitment to increasing:

3) Showcase activities of inclusive employers to help them attract investments from impact investors seeking to empower women
4) Raise awareness among investors and employers about the potential of GLI and the importance of integrating gender analysis into investment strategies
5) Work with investors to develop and implement action plans and policies to help integrate GLI into their investment processes


GLI status across the MENA region (Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Libya, Iraq, Algeria)

>  Publicly listed companies
>  Investors:
             ​​- Funds (mutual funds, venture capitals, angel investors)
             - Capital providers
             - Capacity builders
             - Finance networks
             - Financial institutions
             - Individual wealthy investors
             - Family businesses
             - International investors
             - Local Investors
             - Employers from the MENA
>  Employers from the MENA


Wassim Dbouk
Ph.D. - 
Director, Investment Management Program, Associate Professor of Finance, Lead in Empirical Finance, OSB

Axelle Meouchy​ 
Research Associate and Curriculum Coordinator
PhD candidate at Tilburg University 

Elissar Saad 
Research Associate​
PhD Candidate at Saint Joseph University​

Ghadi Al Ayache
BA – Research Assistant and Data Coordinator




The first phase of the GLI mini-certificate program was housed at the Center for Inclusive and Business for Leadership (CIBL for Women​) at AUB's Suliman S. Olayan School of Business​


​Lama Moussawi​ Ph.D. - CIBL Director, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, Tenured Associate Professor of Management Science 
Wassim Dbouk Ph.D. -  CIBL Co-founder, Associate Professor of Finance, Director of the Investment Management Program at OSB.
Charlotte Karam Ph.D. - Director of International Partnerships, and Founding Director (2018-2021), CIBL for Women and Adjunct Professor | Endowed Professor in Inclusive Systems, Associate Professor, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa  
Axelle Meouchy​ MS - Research Associate/Curriculum Coordinator
Elissar Saad MA – Research Associate
Ghadi Al Ayache BA – Research Assistant

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