Market Systems and Partnerships' Approach to Gender Lens Investment

  • Date Posted: March 9, 2023
  • Authors: Bronwyn Irwin
  • Organizations/Projects: Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships
  • Document Types: Primer or Brief
  • Donor Type: U.S. Agency for International Development


Graphic summarizing the 6 phases at which MSP integrates gender throughout its partnership cycle

This brief is written by Bronwyn Irwin for DAI with contributions from Daniella Maor.

Strengthening gender equity is good for business and good for society. The Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnership Activity (MSP) integrates a Gender Lens Investment (GLI) strategy as core feature of its approach to private sector partnerships. This brief summarizes MSP's approach to GLI, focusing on the practical phases to our strategy that have been successful in our partnerships facility and that can be adapted to other contexts. In this brief, you will find:

  • Methods to assess and then move firms through a Women’s Inclusion and Empowerment Continuum as part of co-development
  • The six phases at which MSP integrates gender throughout its partnership cycle, with the ultimate goal of supporting firms to integrate the inclusion and empowerment of women into their core business strategies
  • Examples of MSP’s partnership WIE strategies, with approaches detailed from our active global partnership facility

A few key takeaways from the brief include:

  • Private sector partnership facilitation provides an opportunity for firms to internalize women’s inclusion and empowerment when integrated gender activities align with core business objectives.
  • Integrate a gender lens at each phase of the investment process—especially during the prospecting phase—or you risk, for example, missing partners during outreach and not capturing the evidence of positive impact of women’s inclusion during implementation.
  • Aim for incremental change rather than a dramatic shift within the life of a partnership—if a firm is not aware of the importance of women’s inclusion, disaggregating and analyzing data is a small but important first step.

MSP is advancing learning and good practice in market systems development and private sector engagement within USAID, USAID partners, and market actors. For more information, access to technical resources, and opportunities to engage, visit


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