Ross said SSGA was inspired to develop the Index by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s (CalSTRS) efforts to move the needle on gender diversity in corporate America, especially for women in leadership positions.

“We see this as providing some choice and the potential for investors to invest for a purpose but also for return,” he said. “Information we have long-term we expect this to be a successful investment strategy.”

SSGA will also direct a portion of its revenue to nonprofit organizations that help develop girls as leaders in business and science.

“From a State Street perspective, we decided to put our money where our mouth is,” Ross said. “We’re donating a percentage of our proceeds – we’re not disclosing the percentage – and opening up a donor-advised fund that others can also invest in. It’s going to be donations to charitable organizations that partner with K-12 schools to address gender bias and prepare girls for the future in business. It’s going to focus itself on the STEM industries, which is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.”

The launch of SHE on the NYSE today coincides with International Women’s Day. Also happening today, Women in ETFs will be ringing the bells at stock exchanges around the world.