As a 21-year veteran of the financial services industry and Head of the Strategic Relationship Group for SPDR® ETFs, I’ve had the privilege of attending countless industry events and conferences over the years. These events bring a range of talented executives together to share ideas and inspire change. Yet, I’m often struck by the lack of women in attendance, with men generally outnumbering women by a wide margin.
It’s time to improve gender diversity in corporate America. Promoting leadership opportunities for women in financial services, and all industries, provides companies with new perspectives and approaches that may lead to better business results.
To celebrate International Women's Day, State Street Global Advisors offered a new symbol of women in leadership. Standing strong and confident, a new iconic landmark arrives in the one place no one can ignore—New York City's financial district. Watch her take her place
in the video below:
Studies have shown that companies with more women in senior leadership roles may perform better than their less gender-diverse peers. Specifically, companies with strong female leaders have generated higher return on equity. In fact, an MSCI study showed that companies with strong female leadership generated a return on equity of 10.1% per year versus 7.4% for those without a critical mass of women at the top, a 36.4% increase of average return on equity.1
Despite such compelling findings, corporate America continues to lack gender-diverse leadership. That’s why we have made it our mission to remind businesses of the value of gender diversity.
Last year, we created the SSGA Gender Diversity Index and SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE) to demonstrate our support for advancing women through gender diversity in senior leadership positions. The fund invests in US large-capitalization companies that rank among the highest in their sector in achieving gender diversity across senior leadership. SHE offers a means to invest in companies that have demonstrated greater gender diversity within their sector, providing investors with a tool to inspire change and make an impact.
Now State Street Global Advisors is issuing—to the more than 3,500 companies we invest in on behalf of clients across three major regions (US, UK and Australia)—new gender diversity guidance designed to increase the number of women on corporate boards. As the third largest asset manager in the world and a significant shareholder,2 we believe that board diversity enhances board quality—bringing together directors with different skills, backgrounds and expertise.
Although there has been some progress made on the inclusion of women on corporate boards, still one out of every four Russell 3000 companies do not have even one woman on their board. And nearly 60% have fewer than 15% of their boards composed of women directors.3
As we proudly celebrate the first anniversary of SHE, we are taking our commitment to gender-diverse leadership one bold step further. Our statue has taken her place for all of Wall Street to see—a place where corporate America cannot help but notice her. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, we’re committed to helping boards achieve greater gender diversity through active dialogue and engagement with these companies and their board leadership.
Standing proudly for the promise and power of women in leadership, she is right where she belongs.
The views and opinions expressed on the Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policies, positions or opinions of the State Street Corporation. All content on the Blog is reported only as of its publication date, and users are responsible for setting their browser cache settings to ensure they are receiving the most up-to-date information.
Users may not post
Inappropriate, offensive or defamatory material
Promotional material for a particular member, firm or product
Testimonials about success or lack thereof with a particular investment service or offering
Material that is in violation of intellectual property rights of State Street or a third party or otherwise violates intellectual property laws
Political views or voting information
Information that is not related to the financial industry
Electronic spam, including repetitive posts of the same content
Confidential information about themselves, their company or their clients, or information related to client accounts, such as account numbers
Language that implies affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement by State Street
Industry regulatory guidelines require that State Street remove any comments that could be interpreted as an endorsement for or recommendation of State Street or SPDR ETFs or their financial products or services.
Comments and opinions posted by users are the responsibility of the person who posted them. State Street does not guarantee the accuracy of content posted by others, and such content does not represent the views of State Street.
Before commenting on the Blog, investment professionals are asked to ensure that commenting is permitted under their firm’s online and/or social media policies. State Street takes no responsibility for any violations of firm policies that may occur as a result of use of the Blog.
Blog users are asked to be considerate, respectful and friendly.