If you’ve mistook the last few week’s headline news reports for fiction straight out of Handmaid’s Tale, you wouldn’t be alone. Women’s right to abortion has taken a huge hit. Someone at the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) leaked an opinion by a majority of the high court that will overturn Roe v. Wade. What this essentially means is that abortion access is up to the states. Louisiana has already advanced a bill that would classify abortion (even medicated abortion) as a homicide. Eeeek. One way to fight back is to put our investable dollars towards our values. Let me introduce you to Female Powered Investing.
It may feel as if there’s little that can be done to stop the degradation of women’s rights. However, investing has become more democratized and competitive. Aside from the fear of getting cancelled, there are several companies that are doing the right thing and standing up for women’s reproductive rights. There are a cadre of ETF and Mutual Funds whose strategy is to invest in companies that champion female leadership and gender equity throughout their organization. Companies and funds who are outspokenly doing this need not only to be applauded but they deserve our dollars, specifically our investing dollars. Let’s get our Female Powered Investing on!
What about the standard advice?
Now, if you’re a frequenter to the Moneyaire blog you know my standard advice is to invest in a broad market index or ETF fund like VTI, IVV, VOO or VTSAX. However, if you want to invest your money to not only grow it, but to also have it support companies you admire for their position on women’s leadership and equity, well that’s awesome and let’s get you going.
Two funds to consider
If investing in companies that champion gender equality is important to you, I have two funds for you to consider. I like the lower cost of SPDR® SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (Ticker: SHE). Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund (Ticker: PXWEX) is another fund worth looking into. It’s a well rounded fund that focuses on women’s leadership and equity issues as well as environmental ones.
SHE focuses on these ratios for companies in its fund holdings:
- Female executives and female members of the board of directors to all executives and members of the board of directors.
- Ratio of female executives to all executives.
- Ratio of female executives excluding executives who are members of the board of directors to all executives excluding executives who are members of the board of directors.
This fund’s focus is on gender diversity primarily within the executive branches or a company. Companies in this fund are part of it because they have better than average diversity in its upper ranks. The expense ratio for this fund is 0.20%. It has a return of 10.83% over the last five years as of March 31, 2022.
The Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund is a pretty neat fund if you want to invest your money into companies with the highest ratings of:
- Women represented on the board of directors.
- Women represented in executive management.
- The hiring, promotion and retention of women.
- Gender pay equity.
- Proactive gender goals and targets and/or have signed on to the Women’s Empowerment Principles.
- Transparency in gender diversity data.
PXWEX has an expense ratio of 0.78% (ouch). It has an average ten year return of 9.59% as of March 31, 2022. There is an initial $1,000 buy in for investor class shares.
Although this fund is a leader in women’s leadership investing, it doesn’t stop there. It also ranks high for excluding companies that are not environmentally conscience, or deal in fossil fuels, tobacco, civilian firearms, and military weapons. PXWEX does get a “C” ranking for the prison and borders industrial complex.
Female powered companies
We invest in three companies that have taken a stand for women’s rights. I also like these companies because of their business models. Salesforce (CRM), Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) are three tech companies that have been beaten up lately due to increasing inflation and interest rates. However, these well run companies produce highly sought after products and services. They’ll be very good investments long term.
In light of the recent attacks on safe abortion access in the Unites States of America, Apple and Amazon announced they would help their employees pay for expenses related to travel for reproductive healthcare, including to get an abortion. Salesforce stated it would help its workers move out of Texas in light of that state’s new abortion law in order to seek reproductive healthcare they need.
Other pro-choice companies to consider
We don’t have direct investments in the following companies but they have also taken a stand for women’s rights. The following companies have also pledged to cover the travel costs of employees who would need to travel to seek out abortion services while also covering the care for abortion services:
- Levi’s (LEVI)
- Citigroup (C)
- Yelp (YELP)
- Match.com (MTCH)
- Microsoft (MSFT)
- Tesla (TSLA)
- Chobani (CHO)
- Bumble (BMBL)
- Hims & Hers (HIMS)
- Amalgamated Bank (AMAL)
- Starbucks (SBUX)
Lyft (LYFT) and Uber (UBER) have pledged to provide women in Texas and Oklahoma free travel to abortion services. They will also pay for any legal services their drivers may face in transporting women to these services. Webhosting company GoDaddy (GDDY) booted Texas Right for Life after the site started encouraging users to send in anonymous tips regarding violations of the new anti-abortion Texas law. The law passed in Texas allows for lawsuits to be filed against providers of abortions.
As more companies go public with their pro-choice stances I’ll be sure to add them to this list.
I am pointing out these companies because I tried finding a fund that holds companies that support women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose. I couldn’t find one. If you know of one, please add a comment letting us all know of it.
For a company to be public about their support of women’s reproductive rights, well, it’s not common. These companies have the courage to stand up for women’s rights and they deserve to be credited for their efforts.
Invest in your values
Investing doesn’t mean having to compromise your values. It was difficult for me to find a comprehensive list of all publicly traded companies that are going above and beyond to support and provide their employees access to reproductive health services including abortions. I hope this post helps you see how you can put your dollars behind companies standing up for women’s rights.
In general ESG investing will help you align your dollars with your values, whatever they may be. Make sure to research funds and companies before you invest in them. If you find interesting funds you’re excited to invest in, please let us all know about them in the comments section below. This post is specifically about companies standing up for female reproductive rights but there are so many other opportunities to invest and align those investments with your values.
As always, good luck! Investing can be daunting and I hope this post makes it a little easier to invest in those companies that want to support women’s reproductive health.