Sustainable & Impact Investing
April 26, 2021
Applying an Intersectional Investment Lens Across Gender and Race
The past year has exposed the fault lines around gender and racial inequities in our workplaces, economy and communities. Investors interested in closing these disparities can explore a thematic investment focus on gender and racial equity, as well as the intersectionality between these two approaches. Intersectionality describes how various forms of inequality — across gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background and citizenship — can overlap, creating compounding experiences of oppression.1 In this context, we explore how investors might consider both gender and race in their investment analysis, enabling their investment portfolios to uplift women and communities of color more effectively.2
Intersectionality across the investment process
Investors can seek to address gender and racial inequities across four aspects in their portfolios by:
- Assessing the diversity of their investment managers and evaluating the extent to which they are investing in strategies owned and/or managed by women and people of color (POC).3
- Investing in companies that have gender and racially diverse leadership and equitable practices in pay, promotion, and hiring.
- Exploring the underlying supplier diversity of companies in their portfolio.
- Sourcing investment opportunities in companies whose products and services benefit women, girls and POC.
Applying the framework to pay equity
Pay equity is one practice around which investors can build engagement initiatives and assess company performance. This practice can be applied across sectors and asset classes.
Though the Equal Pay Act of 1963 mandated that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work, women are still paid 82 cents for every dollar a man earns,4 a disparity that is much worse for women of color. Based on 2019 U.S. Census data, Black women are paid 63 cents to every dollar a White man is paid, and Indigenous and Latinx women are paid 60 cents and 55 cents, respectively.5
Applying the framework to representation
Representation is another crucial practice to assess alongside pay equity. Together, they compose a more holistic picture of the company’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. For example, on a team with ten men and one woman, the woman may be paid the same compensation as her male colleagues. In this case, there is full pay equity, but a stark lack of representation and, therefore, true equity is not achieved. Conversely, a team may offer impressive representation, but if all women and POC are paid a fraction of their white male colleagues, then representation exists without pay equity, and again true equity is not achieved. To drive progress, investors should seek to understand how a company addresses gender and racial equity in representation and pay concurrently.
Action steps to get started
Following is a roadmap of action steps investors can take to start applying an intersectional investment lens in their portfolios:
Our research goes deeper
Glenmede has published extensive research around a more comprehensive approach to investing in gender equity and racial equity. To explore further, please reach out to us at SustainableAndImpactInvesting@glenmede.com.
1 UN Women. “Intersectional feminism: what it means and why it matters.” https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/6/explainer-intersectional-feminism-what-it-means-and-why-it-matters. July 1, 2020.
2 Roy, Katica. “In tackling the country’s biggest problems, Biden and Harris need to prioritize gender and racial equity.” Fortune. December 17, 2020. https://fortune.com/2020/12/17/joe-biden-kamala-harris-gender-equity-racial-equity-equal-pay-covid-climate-change/
3 McKinsey & Company. “Closing the gap: Leadership perspectives on promoting women in financial services.” https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/Financial%20Services/Our%20Insights/Closing%20the%20gap%20Leadership%20perspectives%20on%20promoting%20women%20in%20financial%20services/Leadership-perspectives-on-promoting-women-in-financial-services.pdf?1620413578. September 2018.
4 “5 Facts about the state of the gender pay gap,” Department of Labor, March 19, 2021. https://blog.dol.gov/2021/03/19/5-facts-about-the-state-of-the-gender-pay-gap#:~:text=Women%20earn%2082%20cents%20for,for%20many%20women%20of%20color.
5 Equal Pay Day Today 2021, based on 2019 U.S. Census Data
This article is intended to be an unconstrained review of matters of possible interest to Glenmede clients and friends and is not intended as personalized investment advice. Advice is provided in light of a client’s applicable circumstances and may differ substantially from this presentation. Any opinions, expectations or projections expressed herein are based on information available at the time of publication and may change thereafter, and actual future developments or outcomes (including performance) may differ materially from any opinions, expectations or projections expressed herein due to various risks and uncertainties. Information obtained from third parties, including any source identified herein, is assumed to be reliable, but accuracy cannot be assured. In particular, information obtained from third parties relating to “ESG” and other terms referenced in this article vary as each party may define these terms, and what types of companies or strategies are included within them, differently. Glenmede attempts to normalize these differences based on its own taxonomy, but those efforts are limited by the extent of information shared by each information provider. Definitional variation may therefore limit the applicability of the analysis herein. Any reference herein to any company, data provider or other third party should not be construed as a recommendation or endorsement of such third party or any products or services offered by such third party. Any reference to risk management or risk control does not imply that risk can be eliminated. All investments have risk. Clients are encouraged to discuss the applicability of any matter discussed herein with their Glenmede representative.