Investing in Women: Top 5 Takeaways from Our Gender Lens Investing Event

October 11th, 2017

At our first annual Impact Series, “Investing in Women: Smart, Profitable, Accessible,” we partnered with Nathalie Molina Niño at BRAVA Investments to focus on bridging the gender and ethnic equality gap. The panel was dynamite, as Laura LaRosa, Nathalie Molina Niño, Suzanne Biegel and Monique Woodard discussed how investors can use their capital to be a force for positive change. It was quite humbling to be around such an accomplished group of individuals with over 150 guests in attendance. Make sure to join us next year.

1. “2044 is coming.”

In the United States, people of color are on track to become the majority by the year 2044, according to the Census Bureau. Monique Woodard, a venture partner at global venture capital seed fund 500 Startups stated, “We can’t talk about improving the lives of women without talking about African Americans and Latinas. There is a massive and untapped market opportunity for investors who are smart enough to see it.”

2. Returns can be competitive.

In many instances, investors can invest alongside gender diverse values while earning market rate or even excess returns. At Glenmede, we call it the “female factor.” Click the hyperlinks for research on how gender diversity on corporate boards may increase firm valuelower default risk and lead to superior performance. Of course, gender lens investing goes beyond placing women in leadership roles. Nathalie and the folks at BRAVA Investments are more focused on raising up a billion women than creating the next female billionaire. And Suzanne Biegel, in her role as Senior Gender Lens Investing Advisor for the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, is in the process of compiling the results of Project Sage, a research initiative that is mapping over 100 private equity and venture funds investing with a gender lens. For a preview of the project click here.

3. You can be a part of the solution.

Virtually any individual or institution can invest in mutual funds or strategies that push for gender diverse values. Shout out to Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), the world’s largest pension fund with $1.3 trillion under management, for announcing their plans to invest alongside MSCI’s Japan Empowering Women Index (WIN). To help us little gals and guys, Suzanne embarked on another research initiative called Project Rose. She tracked public equity and public debt strategies with an explicit gender lens mandate. Click here to see the list of investable strategies.

4. A lot of progress has been made, but we still have a long way to go.

The tragic truth is that discrimination, repression and prejudices have been interwoven into the history of Homo sapiens. And that has economic consequences. Positive strides have been made to narrow the gender gap. Progressing in this manner can benefit both our society and our financial lives. According to research by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), if every state in the U.S. matched the state with the fastest progress in women’s participation in the workforce, the share of women’s jobs that are full-time, and the mix of sectors in which women work, $2.1 trillion could be added to the country’s GDP by 2025. But Nathalie worries that we have become distracted with change “tokens,” or change without real, meaningful outcomes. It’s time to double down on our efforts, not claim victory.

5. “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” – Shirley Chisholm

Monique summed up the sentiment at the event well by ending her presentation with this quote. Need we say more?

If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to email Top5@glenmede.com or contact Casey Clark, CFA, Director of Sustainable & Impact Investing at casey.clark@glenmede.com.

Glenmede’s Top 5 is intended to be an unconstrained review of matters of possible interest to Glenmede Trust Company clients and friends and is not intended as personalized investment, estate planning, tax or legal advice. Investment and wealth advice depends on many individual facts and circumstances we cannot account for here. For legal and tax advice, consult your lawyer or accountant. Opinions or projections herein are based on information available at the time of publication and may change thereafter. Information gathered from other sources is assumed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. Outcomes (including performance) may differ materially from expectations herein due to various risks and uncertainties. Any reference to risk management or risk control does not imply that risk can be eliminated. All investments have risk. Please contact your Glenmede representative to discuss the applicability of any matter discussed herein.