More investment firms are letting clients put their money where their mouth is on gender equality
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, simply talking about the treatment of women and fretting about gender inequality are no longer enough. A demand for tangible action to make gender equality a reality is sweeping across many industries. In finance, one of the steps in this direction has been the recent creation of gender equality exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These give investors the chance to actively invest in companies that champion equality. Last month, Swiss banking giant UBS became the latest firm to offer one of these funds.
The UBS ETF is linked to the Solactive Equileap Global Gender Equality 100 Leaders Net Total Return Index. This index is comprised of the top international companies deemed to be leaders promoting gender equality based on 19 different metrics by Equileap, an organization trying to bring about equality using investments. Companies are scored on gender balance in senior management, equal pay, parental leave programs, flexible working opportunities, training programs, workplace safety, diversity in supply chains, as well as transparency and accountability in their efforts to be equitable.
Half of the ETF’s holdings are in US-based companies, but all are in developed markets. The companies must also meet additional environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, in line with Solactive’s rules.
Photo courtesy of Simone McCourtie.