Women are making their marks in the investment world by choosing companies that are both financially rewarding, as well as socially responsible. In the investment world, they’ve shown that it’s possible to do well by doing good. Their approach is practical. They want their investment dollars to work hard to support thriving companies that also use resources to better the planet and mankind.
Women and Investing: What's Their Impact?
Things Have Changed
Thanks to the hard work of their predecessors and their own accomplishments, Gen X and Millennial women have shifted the balance of wealth in this country. They’ve done it through education. Women now account for 52 percent of doctoral degrees granted, 60 percent of master’s degrees, and 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees. As a consequence, more than half of married women make more than their husbands according to a paper published by Fidelity Investments,
Gender-Based Approaches to Investing
This report also found that women have different investment priorities than men do. Through their research, they found that women are much more likely to focus on long-term goals and want their money to go toward helping companies that combine profitability with social responsibility. Fidelity also found that women prefer working collaboratively to support companies whose modus operandi is to create win-win relationships in every aspect of their business.
Some companies have responded to the pressures of this societally conscious movement, like:
- Toms’ Shoes. This company has an active donation program called One for One. Started in 2006, its company president goes by the title of Founder and Chief Shoe Giver. Besides matching donations for each shoe sold, it participates in world-wide clean water programs, health initiatives for children and many more humanitarian causes.
- Deloitte. This company, an accounting and consulting firm with a global presence, has programs to attract and retain women in senior leadership positions. Women currently own 25 percent of the company and its efforts to recruit and retain talented women is a world-wide effort.
- Proctor & Gamble. This consumer products company won the Catalyst Award for Promoting Women in Business Globally in 2015. Besides supporting and advancing women throughout its organization, more than half of P&G’s Board of Directors is female and 43 percent of its management position are filled by women.
- Timberland, an outdoor shoe and clothing retailer, gives its employees 40 paid hours a year to pursue volunteer projects.
- H&M, another clothing retailer, collects used clothing in each of its stores to be recycled and redistributed worldwide.
Importance of Social Media
Companies that are on the leading edge of societal corporate responsibility often turn to social media to engage and broaden their audiences. They use Facebook pages and Tweets to describe their causes and concerns or start petitions. Women are more apt to articulate their positions on social issues on these sites, and companies that use this kind of influencer marketing have found it highly effective.
Social media is a good place for these savvy companies to look for potential impact investors because the use of likes and shares gives them exponentially larger exposure to highly targeted audiences. Gen X and Millennials have a larger presence on social media sites and use them as networking tools, whether they’re advancing a corporate message or working towards a common good.
The Future of Impact Investing
As more mainstream companies see the successes of companies who provide exceptional products or services while addressing the public good, it’s inevitable that they’ll adopt positions that are less profit-centric and more humanitarian. The goals of hardworking and successful women are largely responsible for this shift in the investment paradigm.
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