According to an MSCI study, companies with strong female leadership roles showed a return on equity of 10.1% per year, compared to 7.4% for those without a critical mass of women in the lead, or a 36.4% increase of average return on equity.
Additionally, according to a 2015 McKinsey Global Institute report, if women participate in the economy identically to men, an additional $28 trillion, or 26%, may be added to annual global GDP by 2025, compared to a business as usual scenario.
To capitalize on these effects, investors could fill out their portfolios with the SPDR Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE). The underlying Gender Diversity Index ETF tracks listed U.S. large capitalization companies with the highest levels within their sectors of gender diversity on their boards of directors and in their senior leadership.
Nevertheless, although there have been some progress on the inclusion of women in corporate boards, almost 60% have of companies in the Russell 3000 have fewer than 15% of their boards comprising of women directors. To remedy this factor, SSGA is putting forth guidelines that could pressure change.
“As part of our review of boards’ gender diversity, we analyzed and compared the level of diversity in three markets: Australia, the UK and the US,” Rakhi Kumar, head of corporate governance at SSGA, said in a note. “Most large cap company boards in these markets have at least one female director but have yet to fully embrace gender equality in their ranks. We believe boards have an important role to play in increasing gender diversity and believe our guidance can help directors take action now.”
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