US SIF Foundation highlights investment options
to improve economic opportunities for women
The US SIF Foundation announced in early October that it has published a new guide for investors seeking to help women achieve parity with men on a number of socioeconomic measures, ranging from access to capital to representation on boards of directors of major corporations.
The guide, Investing to Advance Women (http://bit.ly/XTVcyZ ), highlights practical strategies that investors can use to increase economic opportunities for women in the United States and around the world.
Investing to Advance Women, written for both institutional and retail investors, outlines options in stocks, mutual funds, fixed income and cash instruments. The guide also provides information on other tools available to investors.
The guide focuses on a variety of areas including:
• Board diversity and corporate performance – Studies have found that companies with higher percentages of women on their boards or in senior management tend to outperform those that do not.
• Gender lens investment strategies – An increasing number of individuals, families, foundations, pensions funds and other investment firms are exploring how to use their philanthropy and investment portfolios to address gender inequality and advance women as an urgent and moral imperative.
• Shareholder engagement – Investors can also help to advance women through shareholder engagement and proxy voting. For example, a number of fund managers have policies of withholding votes from slates of board of director nominees that do not include women.
US SIF Foundation CEO Lisa Woll said, “Nearly 20 years after the Fourth World Conference on Women, women have not achieved parity with men on a wide range of socioeconomic measures. Women’s voices and opportunities are often stifled by societal stereotypes and harmful social norms and beliefs. But a growing body of evidence suggests there is not only a moral argument for investing in women, but a business case as well.”
“This guide is intended to help make investors more aware of their ability to help advance opportunities for women through a range of financial products and through shareowner engagement,” Woll said.
Investing to Advance Women is the fourth publication of the “How Do I SRI” series of practical guidebooks (www.ussif.org/howdoisri ). Each guide focuses on a social or environmental challenge and the strategies through which investors can address it. The series is made possible through funding from the Wallace Global Fund.
About US SIF and US SIF Foundation
The US SIF Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, supports the educational and research activities of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF). The US SIF Foundation publishes the biennial Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the United States, as well as topical reports on subjects such as foundations and impact investing, community investing, alternative investments, and the impact of sustainable and responsible investing (SRI). The US SIF Foundation also operates the Center for Sustainable Investment Education, which produces online and live courses, including the Fundamentals of Sustainable and Responsible Investment, and other educational resources to help advance SRI. Details at- www.ussif.org/courses
US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the US membership association for professionals, firms, institutions and organizations engaged in sustainable, responsible and impact investing . US SIF and its members advance investment practices that consider environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact. US SIF’s members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, banks, credit unions, community development organizations, non-profit associations, and pension funds, foundations and other asset owners. Learn more at www.ussif.org