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Equileap and As You Sow apply gender equality data to US mutual funds and ETFs

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Gender equality research firm Equileap has licensed its 12 key performance indicators to As You Sow, which is launching a tool screening the specific holdings of nearly 5,000 US-based mutual funds and ETFs.

Diana van Maasdijk (pictured), CEO at Equileap, says: “You can’t change what you can’t see. This innovative idea is all about enabling investors to choose mutual funds and ETFs aligned with their values, by assessing the funds’ gender equality footprint. We launched Equileap back in 2016 with the idea of leveraging the money invested in the financial market to take a leap towards gender equality; this is exactly what As You Sow aims to do with this new online tool.”

The Gender Equality Funds tool screens the holdings of the most commonly-held mutual funds, including financial giants such as Vanguard or State Street. 

This is the fifth Invest Your Values tool launched by As You Sow over the last years. As You Sow is a non-profit organisation that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies.

Andrew Behar, CEO at As You Sow, says: “This tool could not be coming out at a better time. Women comprise 47 per cent of the workforce, but only 4.8 per cent of S&P 500 companies have female CEOs. Gender Equality Funds empower investors to see what is hidden within the mutual funds that comprise the bulk of their retirement savings and 401(k) plans. The first step is to know what you own – then you can use the power of your capital to invest in companies that have policies and practices that promote gender equality.

“We expect this tool to unleash a tsunami of change in the way women are treated in the workforce.”

Some 12 Equileap criteria are used to screen the funds. The full Equileap Scorecard is composed of 12 criteria plus seven others. Equileap writes that it has gathered the most comprehensive corporate database on gender equality, investigating in-depth over 3,000 publicly-listed companies with a market capitalisation of over USD2 billion. To date, 25 per cent of the USD2.4 billion invested in gender-lens financial products globally are powered by Equileap data, the firm says.

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