As a male financial executive, I’m well aware that I may not fit the mold of a typical feminist.1 So why have I made gender equality a core tenet of my professional life?
For these reasons, I believe that gender inequality is the great human rights issue of our time. It is also the great economic challenge of our time. And businesses need to be part of the solution.
There can no longer be any argument. An overwhelming body of research shows that where women are empowered, economies perform better, and where women are better represented in corporate leadership, businesses perform better.
The economic case for advancing gender equality is rock-solid:
In the business community it is increasingly clear: When more women are at the table the discussion is richer, the decision-making process is better, management is more innovative and collaborative, and the organization is stronger. Diverse groups simply make better decisions than non-diverse groups.
You know what drives me crazy as a business leader?
When I think about how much wealth remains locked up inside outdated, dim-witted, patriarchal structures around the globe.
Unprecedented economic value would be unleashed if women simply had the same educational and economic opportunities as men. In fact, I believe true gender equality would lead to the greatest period of economic growth in the history of the planet.
By investing in companies that invest in women. By advocating for pay equity. By saying “no” to all-male corporate boards.
It is critical that all leaders—both male and female—take action now, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the smart thing to do for our global economy.
So, why am I a feminist?
I think the better question is, why isn’t everyone?
1 Lily Rae, “FT’s top feminist men help women succeed in business and beyond,” Financial Times, September 15, 2015.
2 Carmen DeNavas-Walt and Bernadette D. Proctor, U.S. Census Bureau, “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013 Current Population Reports,” September 2014.
3 Pew Research Center, Social & Demographic Trends, “Chapter 1: Women in Leadership,” January 14, 2015.
4 Joanna Barsh and Lareina Yee, “Unlocking the full potential of women in the US economy,” McKinsey & Company, April 2011.
5 Kevin Daly, Global Economics Paper No: 154, “Gender Inequality, Growth and Global Ageing,” Goldman Sachs, April 3, 2007.
6 Credit Suisse Research Institute, “The CS Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management,” September 2014.
7 Andre Chanavat and Katharine Ramsden, “Climb to the Top-Tracking Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards,” Thomson/Reuters, October 2014.
Pax World Management LLC
Pax World Management LLC, investment adviser to Pax World Funds and creator of the Pax Global Women’s Leadership Index,* is a pioneer in the field of sustainable investing. Pax World integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) research into its investment process to better manage risk and deliver competitive long-term investment performance. Across all of its funds, Pax World withholds support from all-male corporate board slates, and working with other institutional investors, actively engages with companies to embrace gender diversity on their boards and advance women in the workplace. For over 45 years, Pax World has made it possible for investors to align their investments with their values and have a positive social and environmental impact. Today, its platform of sustainable investing solutions includes a family of mutual funds, as well as separately managed accounts.
* A custom index calculated by MSCI. One cannot invest directly in an index.