The Importance of Investing in Women
Out of the 500 companies that make up the S&P 500, only 24 have a female CEO.
Women make up 45% of the S&P 500 workforce, but only 25% of senior managers and 19% of board seats. Earlier this month, three agency interns shed a spotlight on the glaring absence of women in top management positions by showing what happens when you search CEO on Google Images. To get the conversation on this gender disparity started, the interns introduced the More Women CEOs website and the hashtag #ItsaJobNotaGender. As more people join their project and share the below picture, the hope is that the image search and ultimately, the way we think of women in business, will change.
Interestingly enough, there is a growing body of research that shows gender equality is an investment issue as well as a social rights issue. Companies that have women on their board of directors experience a better return on investment, less volatility, and higher earnings overall when compared to companies that do not. A 2015 study by MSCI found that companies with three or more female board members outperformed others by an average of 36%. Many other studies support findings that companies with greater gender diversity have a significant correlation with better financial performance, higher stock market valuations, and better share price performance. Economically, both advanced and developing countries around the world stand to gain from the massive effect gender parity could have on the global GDP.
So not only is investing in women and progressing towards gender equality simply the right thing to do, it is also a smart investment strategy. As an investor, you have the power to promote change through what you invest in. Joe Keefe, president and CEO of Pax World Funds, has this to say about the importance of what your investments support:
"If you believe that women should be better represented in the board rooms of corporate America, but you are invested through financial intermediaries that rubber stamp all-male corporate boards, then you are unwittingly part of the problem rather than part of the solution—or at least your investments are. You might think about switching to a firm that better understands your values and priorities."
He goes on to talk about practical ways to promote board diversity and be an engaged shareholder, as well as the amazing opportunity that is the Pax Ellevate Global Women's Index Fund. All of the companies in the fund have at least one woman on the board, and 78% have the magic number of three or more. Pax World has done a tremendous job with their contributions to the importance of investing in women, and continue to be a leader towards fighting for gender equality in the business world.
On Wednesday, August 17th, we partnered with Pax World for an "Investing in Women" webinar, where speaker Kathleen McQuiggan talked more about the concept and advantages of investing in women. Click here for a recording of the webinar, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like more information on how you could be a part of this important change.