Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Investor Activism – How Investors Can Make a Difference for Women

Last week one of my favorite blogs, The Glass Hammer, posted this thoughtful article by Melissa J. Anderson on the value of female executives at today's corporations and how investors can help promote gender equality in the workplace.

From The Glass Hammer:

    Pax World just released a paper written by Keefe, Gender Equality as an Investment Concept, drawing together a decade of research on the strategic value of women in leadership roles at today’s corporations. “I was trying to really call attention to the fact that investors can make a difference,” Keefe said.

    He explained, “I thought that if we better publicize that research, it will underscore the point that companies that do a better job retaining and advancing women are better companies. Investing in these companies is a smarter way to invest.”

    Changing the Game and Investing Smarter

    “There are not nearly enough women in the boards of Fortune 500 companies. People have been wringing their hands, saying ‘isn’t this terrible.’ But we can actually do something about this,” Keefe explained. “Corporations have to listen to their shareholders,” he said.

    Investors can change the game for women in leadership, and as the research paper revealed, investors should do work to change the game.

    Keefe says there are three things individual shareholders can do to to influence companies to improve gender balance. “A very promising strategy is that investors can say no to all-male public boards. Withhold support when you receive your proxies. Instruct your individual advisor or other representative to vote on proxies in a way that is consistent with your values.”

Read more here

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