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The S&P 500 is an index of the largest 505 (don’t ask me why it’s 505 and not 500) companies on the stock exchange, and an upsettingly small number of these companies have a female CEO at the helm. According to this article as of August 2021, women only hold 6% of CEO positions out of all the S&P 500 companies. Yikes.
We’ve talked before about ethical investing, aka building your investment strategy around your personal values. Weaving in women-led companies into your strategy can be a great way to practice ethical and feminist investing.
If you’re hoping to back more women-owned/women-led companies, the good news is that you don’t have to look just to the S&P 500 –– there are many women-led public companies that you can support, even if they are smaller.
Personally, I support women-led companies by investing in an individual stock, but there are many ways to do so! As we touched on in our Guide to Ethical Investing article, you still want to make sure you’re keeping your portfolio well diversified. As much as we love ethically investing, tying all of your investments to one ship isn’t a strong strategy, even if the captain of the ship is a woman!
Before we go on, this article is from our app, Treasury –– an investing community that actually teaches you how to invest and provides you with education and community to help demystify the process and make investing accessible for all. Learn more about our user-friendly investing app, Treasury.
Below, we’re highlighting a few women-led public companies to consider supporting as well as touching on a few index funds (diversity!!) that are weighted by female CEOs.
Bumble (BMBL): Whitney Wolfe Herd
I am a big fan of Whitney and a big fan of Bumble as an app that puts women in the driver’s seat for dating. Especially with the rise in predatory behavior on dating apps, Bumble led the way for women to feel safer.
General Motors (GM): Mary Barra
General Motors has been around for decades, and it’s likely someone in your family owned something by them. Mary has been serving as CEO since 2014, and the company has seen record profits under her leadership. She is the first woman to lead one of the big three auto companies. GM is also one of TWO companies that successfully eradicated the gender pay gap.
GAP (GPS): Sonia Sygnal
The jeans that keep on giving, am I right? If you’ve spent any time in a shopping mall in the last few decades, you’re familiar with The Gap and its subsidiaries. Sonia took over as CEO in 2016 and has led the company to steady growth since then. The Gap also boasts several women in leadership positions, including their CFO and several CEOs of their subsidiaries (Old Navy, Banana Republic, etc). You can see their whole leadership team here!
Walgreens (WBA): Rosalind Brewer
Taking the helm in March of 2021, Rosalind Brewer is one of the newer CEOs on this list. She is the CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance which includes companies Walgreens, Boots, and Alliance Health.
What about funds?
Like the Fossil Fuel Free ETFthat we shared in our Ethical Investing, there are many index funds and ETFs that either feature companies with female CEOs or companies who have a more diverse executive board as a whole.
There’s the Barclays Women in Leadership ETN (WIL), which follows companies with either a female CEO or whose leadership boards are comprised of 25% + female representation. The SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE) also tracks companies with greater diversity in their leadership.
As always with funds, check their fees, performance over a period of time and see how many companies they represent to make sure you’re still getting diversification in your investments.
Other ways to support women-led
If it feels difficult to make ethical-based feminist investing choices, or you feel like there’s more to be done, you’d be right! A great thing about our spending is that 100% of our paycheck doesn’t go towards investing in the market –– we use it to buy goods and services every day.
As a part of your commitment to supporting women-owned and women-led organizations, consider supporting small businesses and local companies who are women-led. Many of these companies are not public, and thus don’t receive funding from your investing anyways. Starting local can be a great way to go.
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