Investing to Advance Women: A Guide for Investors from SIF
This recently released guide from the US SIF explores the business case for investors seeking to put their dollars to work to address the pressing issues that affect women. It presents summary information on the socioeconomic status of women in the United States and globally, the challenges they face in achieving parity with men in the business and economic realm and the investment products that investors can use to address these issues. Options across a range of asset classes and vehicles, including stocks, mutual funds, fixed income and cash instruments, as well as shareholder engagement approaches, are discussed.
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Investing to promote gender equality and advance the socioeconomic standing of women and girls is a leading priority of many sustainable investors. The US SIF Foundation found that at the start of 2018, institutional investors considered “gender lens” as a criterion in $868 billion of investment assets. This is more than double what was identified in 2016.
In this brief report we present summary information on the socioeconomic status of women in the United States and globally, the challenges they face in achieving parity with men in the business and economic realm, the business case for investors to put their dollars to work to address these pressing issues and strategies and products that will allow them to do so.
After a brief Introduction, the report examines The Changing Socioeconomic Status of Women and presents key facts on the socioeconomic status of women in the United States and globally. While women have made notable political, economic and educational gains in recent decades, they still earn on average less than men. In many countries, women face legal and cultural barriers that restrict their economic and educational opportunities.
The Business Case for Advancing Women highlights the substantial and growing body of research that demonstrates the business case for investing in gender equality, and the gains the world stands to reap by rectifying gender equality issues.
For example, research shows that companies with greater representation of women on their boards of directors and in senior management are likely to have higher profitability and produce better returns than their less diverse peers.
Investment Strategies and Products that Support Women offers a summary of funds that are singularly focused on investing in gender equality, those where gender-related criteria are incorporated in investment analysis and those that prioritize shareholder engagement across environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, including gender-related issues. You will also find links to searchable databases of investment products and services.
Your Investments provides specific guidance for both retail and accredited/institutional investors on how to invest in companies and funds that support women’s socioeconomic advancement as well as how to make your voice heard as a shareholder or fund investee.
The report concludes with a section encouraging you to consider your ability In Your Community to influence the investment policies of non-profit organizations, university endowments, religious institutions and local government operating and pension funds with which you have ties.