Putting our Money Where our Mouths Are: Gender Lens Investing
There are many different ways that women around the world are working to battle gender inequities. This includes lobbying for legislation changes, advocating for government programs and services that support women, supporting women-focused non-profit organizations and more.
Now, Jacki Zehner, the Co-Chair of Women Moving Millions, and former partner at Goldman Sachs, is advocating that women use their investments as a way of earning superior investment returns and also contributing to narrowing the financial gender gap and contributing to economic growth and social justice.
In the article Power Unused is Power Useless — A Case for Gender Lens Investing on The New Agenda, Ms. Zehner notes that while women are a driving force in spending decisions and investment decisions, they are still much more likely to be poor, underepresented in leadership roles, and to earn less money than their male counterparts. In part, this is because women are not using their economic power to drive positive change for their own gender and for the world in general.
Zehner mentions three possible reasons why wealth advisors are not helping women to find or create financial products that match their gender equality goals:
- People do not see gender inequality as a “big deal” (despite the fact that some experts say that gender inequality is the greatest human crisis that we face today).
- The opportunity and issue has not been framed in a way that would make people willing to change their financial behavior.
- People may fear, without good reason, that investing with women may compromise the goal of earning the greatest potential return.
Investment advisors and individual investors can link the causes they care about with the investment choices that they make. Currently, there are many “ethical” investment choices for people who care about environmental issues, human rights issues, and so on. However, Zehner notes that there are very few options for those who wish to focus their investment specifically on gender issues. However, she does suggest some starting places for those who are interested in moving in that direction with their portfolios.
If women made a conscious effort to invest in women, could it make a significant contribution to addressing the gender gap?
It’s Not a “He-Cession” Anymore: Economic Changes Erode Gender Equality
Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.
Photo: Rural women in India driving their own change by McKaySavage on flickr