Friday, July 17, 2009

Investing in women (by Suzie)

Investors often do not realize the power they have to move the needle on issues like gender empowerment. Every investor—and most of us are investors, if we have retirement plans—can tell their portfolio manager or plan administrator that they wish to vote their proxies in favor of gender equity, which means voting for shareholder resolutions on diversity disclosure and withholding votes from all-male boards of directors.
This quote comes from Joe Keefe, CEO of Pax World Mutual Funds, at the “Gender Equality as an Investment Concept” seminar in May in Washington, D.C. Pax describes its Women’s Equity Fund as “the only mutual fund in the U.S. whose focus is on investing in companies that invest in women."

When I worked for a newspaper owned by Media General, employees got stock as part of retirement plans. Some of us would add a note each year to our proxy, arguing to put a woman on the board. I don’t know if that helped, but it’s better than doing nothing.