Ms. van Maasdijk began by providing an overview of Equileap, an ESG data provider focusing solely on gender. Equileap’s mission is to close the equality gap in the workplace, with the added value of being the largest global database on gender equality. The Equileap database covers 4,000+ mid to large-cap companies in 23 developed economies. Equileap’s scorecard includes 19+ criteria (gender pay gap, parental leave, supplier diversity, etc.) in four categories—A through D. An annual report outlines the top performing companies. This year, top performance only required a score of 74%. Further, Equileap found that 85% of the companies did not publish information about their pay gaps, with a stark contrast between 5% of US companies and 78% of companies in the UK. Even more surprising, 51% of companies did not have anti-sexual harassment policy, and only 19% of companies globally offer flexible working hours and location. Equileap continues to create and publish data to promote their goal of increasing gender diversity in the workplace.
Next, Ms. Furr presented Morningstar’s Gender Diversity Indexes. Covering over 20,000+ indexes including a variety of ESG factors, Morningstar has partnered with Equileap to publish a robust report on gender equality in business. The report can be found here. Ms. Furr provided a variety of lenses and examples to analyze gender diversity. Several approaches outlined included core versus satellite allocation, active versus passive investing, and understanding size/sector/style biases. Ms. Furr also covered several examples, such as the RBC Vision Women’s Ldrsp MSCI Cnd ETF, and the Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment ETF—the latter scoring in the top 200 by Equileap and including additional ESG screens. Additionally, this presentation covered Morningstar’s Gender Diversity Index Family, which tilts security weights based on Gender Equality scores—capping individual security weight at 5%—and includes “alarm bell” criteria. Ms. Furr closed her presentation by showing how data from “Group 1”, the best-scoring companies of the Gender Diversity Index, outperformed the parent index by 113 basis points.
The teamwork of Equileap and Morningstar to collect, promote, and publish gender diversity reporting is a step in the right direction. With data such as that the top 20% more gender diverse companies outperform bottom 20% companies by nearly 3% (Glenmede Report, Oct. 2020), investing inclusively brings both the financial and the social returns necessary to create positive impact in the current business landscape.
To find a recorded version of this webinar, click here.
For more on Diversity Investing, see: https://www.creativeinvest.com/FirstInvestingPortfolioDevotedtoDiversity.pdf