International Women’s Day 2021: Launch of the Gender Lens Incubation and Acceleration Toolkit (GLIA) 2.0, a new resource to support female entrepreneurs

March 22, 2021

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, the Gender Investment and Innovation Department of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) launched the Gender Lens Incubation Acceleration Toolkit (GLIA) 2.0 on March 9, 2021, as part of a webinar organized with the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN).
 
The GLIA Toolkit, developed by SPF in collaboration with the Frontier Incubator program of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), is a practitioner-orientated resource aiming to help Entrepreneurship Support Organizations (ESOs) apply a gender lens to their work and encourage greater inclusion and diversity in entrepreneurship throughout Southeast Asia. The GLIA Toolkit, which originally launched in 2020, is available as an interactive web-based resource that includes conceptual maps and instructional videos as well as practical guidelines, case studies, and a framework for applying a gender lens at three levels of entrepreneurial activity: organizations, programs and ecosystem.
 
The newly released GLIA Toolkit 2.0 includes updated gender and impact measurement metrics that help ESOs measure, evaluate, and learn from the impact of the strategies they implement alongside new training modules focusing on themes including negotiation, gender in products and services, impostor syndrome, and gender and power.
 
At the webinar, Ms. Ayaka Matsuno, Director of the Gender Investment and Innovation Department, announced the launch of the GLIA Toolkit 2.0, noting that "ESOs play a critical role in driving gender equality by supporting social impact entrepreneurs and ensuring the capital flows towards businesses that bring value to women." She also expressed her hope that the GLIA Toolkit 2.0 will be widely used by ESOs in Southeast Asia.

Ms. Audrey Jean-Baptiste of ygap, an international NGO that co-developed the GLIA Toolkit 2.0, conducted a live demonstration of the online version to help users to navigate through the different resources on the platform and welcomed input from the users. "The GLIA toolkit is very much meant to be a living and breathing resource that will continue to grow over time. If you see any opportunities to collaborate, whether that's translating the toolkit or linking to some research online resource that you found, please do not hesitate to contact us.”

Ms. Ayaka Matsuno, Director of the Gender Investment and Innovation Department at SPF (left) and Ms. Audrey Jean-Baptiste, Program Director for ygap Collaborations

The GLIA Toolkit 2.0 underwent a rigorous pilot study that invited leading ESOs from Southeast Asia to use the toolkit and provide feedback. In the panel discussion of the webinar, three ESOs that partnered on the GLIA toolkit capacity building program – Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), makesense Asia (Philippines), and Villgro (Philippines) – shared their experiences with the audience.
 
Ms. Angeli Recella, Executive Director for Operations from makesense Asia in the Philippines, said, "it is sometimes difficult to discuss gender issues in the Southeast Asian region, even within the company. However, the GLIA Toolkit 2.0 is a very reliable tool for systematically learning about gender perspectives, and I felt comfortable discussing gender issues with my team members based on this tool.” She also noted that “the GLIA Toolkit 2.0 allowed us to set a baseline and create a plan to improve our business and organization.”
 
Mr. Ralph Mpofu, Catalyst for Partnerships, Programs & Community from Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, announced that they have started to incorporate a gender lens in their recruitment. “In order to achieve gender parity, we needed to hire the right people, and by refining our hiring approach based on the GLIA Toolkit 2.0 strategy, we were able to bring in the best and most diverse talent to Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur.” In his view, this has led to improved overall performance of Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur by addressing the needs of the diverse community and making better decisions.
 
Ms. Priya Thachadi, Founder and CEO of Villgro Philippines also spoke highly of the GLIA Toolkit 2.0, saying, "The GLIA Toolkit 2.0 has given us the confidence to implement gender-smart strategies, to move from mere words to actions and to outcomes.” In particular, she said that she had learned a lot through the new subjects added to the GLIA Toolkit 2.0, and stressed that gender equality should not be measured only by the number of men and women, but should be understood on a deeper level.

Clockwise from upper left: Ms. Rina Komiya, Program Officer for the Gender Investment and Innovation Department; Ms. Angeli Recella, Co-Executive Director for Operations, makesense Philippines; Mr. Ralph Mpofu, Catalyst: Partnerships, Programs & Community, Impact Hub KL; and Ms. Priya Thachadi, CEO of Villgro

The audience also joined in the discussion by asking questions and providing feedback during the webinar’s Q&A session. One audience member asked if the toolkit was being tested in India, showing high expectations for the toolkit to be used beyond Southeast Asia. In another encouraging sign, there were many participants from Europe even though the webinar was conducted in the early morning in Europe time, which indicates the high level of awareness of the toolkit outside of Southeast Asia. It is hoped that the toolkit will continue to build momentum to make a significant impact beyond Southeast Asia, ultimately bolstering the use of a gender lens by ESOs around the world.
 
Rina Komiya, Program Officer, Gender Investment and Innovation Department

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