The Power of the Purse: The Five P's for Shifting Finance to Help Women and Girls

Purchasing power. Portfolio power. Philanthropic power. Political power. And 'preneur power.

Geri Stengel, president of Ventureneer, a digital media and market research company, has a good piece on rounding up the many ways consumers, investors, philanthropists, citizens and, yes, entrepreneurs can both harness and help the growing power of women and girls.

Finance can impact issues as diverse as women on corporate boards, sex trafficking, bias in the media, the wage gap, equitable health access and the gap in funding women-led companies, according to The State of the Field of Gender Lens Investing: A Road Map for the Field from Criterion Institute.

Here are some of Geri's additional tips and resources:

BUY UP Index rates parent companies of consumers' favorite brands on gender diversity in the boardroom and C-Suite, workforce practices (such as maternity leave or flextime/telecommuting and leadership programs), philanthropy and corporate social responsibility and advertising and marketing that portrays inclusiveness.

Maternity Leave Resource Center is a database of the leave policies of approximately 550 companies.

Harness the Power of the Purse: Winning Women Investors, by Andrea Turner Moffitt, outlines the investing power of women, who have decision-making power over $11.2 trillion or 39 percent of all investable assets in the U.S..

Women Investing in Women Initiative (WIN-WIN), a project of the Calvert Foundation, raised $20 million to lend to organizations that empower women and girls.

Blueprint for Investing in Girls and Young Women, by the New York Women's Foundation, explores how poverty makes women vulnerable to violence, poor health, and lower educational outcomes and strategies to overcome it.

More women than men vote, but women make up only 30 percent of big campaign donors, according to data from Crowdpac reported in The New York Times.

Business that engage both women and men in every link of the value chain do better, according to Women and Social Enterprises: How Gender Integration Can Boost Entrepreneurial Solutions to Poverty from Acumen and the International Center for Research on Women.

"Imagine what the world would look like if women used their purses to influence a company's decision to provide maternity leaves, fund a company that developed a better breast pump, educate girls in the developing world or back competent female candidates," Stengel writes. "I can imagine that world. It looks pretty good."

Note: This post is part of the conversation around the new report, "The State of the Field of Gender Lens Investing" and is published in partnership with Criterion Institute. It was first published by Impact Alpha.