Gender Lens Investing

A positive trend we are seeing is that our portfolio managers and funds are increasingly analyzing gender policy and performance when reviewing investments. There is also a lot of shareowner engagement in this area–for example to increase board gender diversity.

The business case for gender diversity continues to be top of mind for companies and investors as we begin a new year. New studies have further enhanced the economic argument for advancing women in leadership, including McKinsey’s Women Matter series, which reported that embracing gender equality could add $12 – $28 trillion in global GDP growth. We think that gender equality in the workplace, and pay equity in particular, will be a focal point in 2016. Sallie Krawcheck, Chair of Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund.

Womenomics Dinner 2016
Attending Town Hall’s Womenomics and a private dinner with Gender Lens expert Jackie Vanderburg of US Trust discussed future trends regarding gender lens investing.

Our colleagues at Trillium published a great report on how some investors are embracing gender lens investing–the use of gender as a category of analysis in investment decision-making.1  Motivations and methods for gender lens investing vary widely, ranging from philanthropic and mission-related investors seeking greater alignment between their investments and their programmatic work related to women and gender to asset managers recognizing opportunities associated with women’s empowerment.

New financial products and funds are being created and customized to focus on gender-related themes while SRI investors are increasingly making gender a more explicit criterion within broader approaches.2

1. Criterion Institute, “What Is Gender Lens Investing?” (Re)Value Gender and the Women Effect Investments Initiative. Also see A CEO’s Guide to Gender Equality – McKinsey & Consulting, November 2015

2. Trillium Asset Management, Nov 2015 Investing for Positive Impact on Women