Pax World Urges Companies To Adopt Women's Empowerment Principles
Principles Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace
PORTSMOUTH, N.H.///June 24 2010/// Pax World Management LLC, investment adviser to Pax World Funds (Pax World) and a leader in the field of Sustainable Investing, is encouraging companies worldwide to endorse and take steps to implement the Women's Empowerment Principles, a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). To kick off this initiative, Pax World sent letters to the chief executive officers of 82 of the 83 companies held in its Global Women's Equality Fund, urging them to embrace these principles, which guide the private sector in promoting gender equality in the workplace. (One company, Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobas)(PBR)(2.5 %*), has already endorsed the Women's Empowerment Principles.)
The Women's Empowerment Principles are designed to support companies in reviewing current policies and practices or create new ones to promote women's empowerment.1 Endorsement of the Women's Empowerment Principles is a step companies can take to better capitalize on the competitive advantages that a comprehensive approach to gender equality can create. In its letter to chief executive officers, Pax World outlined its view that companies that integrate gender diversity and women's empowerment into their business models will be more successful than their less enlightened competitors and will, in the long run, be viewed as better investments.
There is a significant body of research suggesting that companies that are successful in promoting women to the most senior levels of business tend to perform better than those companies that do not. A 2007 Catalyst study on board diversity and financial performance, for example, found that the companies with the highest proportion of women on their boards of directors outperformed those with the lowest percentage of women by 66 percent on the basis of return on invested capital.2
Pax World President and CEO Joe Keefe recently sent a CEO Statement of Support for the Women's Empowerment Principles to UNIFEM and UNGC. "Companies need to take the next step and sign on to these Principles, which are an important tool to advance gender equality in the workplace," says Keefe. "At Pax World, we believe that the status and role of women in a company is a key indicator of its growth potential. When women are at the table, the discussion is richer, the decision-making process is better and the organization is stronger."
The Women's Empowerment Principles are built on the premise that empowering women is vital in order to "build strong economies, establish more stable and just societies, achieve internationally-agreed goals for development, sustainability and human rights, improve quality of life for women, men, families and communities, and propel businesses' operations and goals."3
To date, 38 companies from around the globe have agreed to support the Women's Empowerment Principles.
Pax World's commitment to gender equality is exemplified through the Pax World Global Women's Equality Fund – the only mutual fund in America that focuses on investing in companies that are global leaders in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment.
Pax World has also established the Pax World Women's Advisory Council, which is comprised of nationally-known leaders and experts on women's issues. The Council assists Pax World in its efforts to advance women and gender equality through the Pax World Global Women's Equality Fund.
Beyond its Global Women's Equality Fund, Pax World applies gender criteria in its sustainability analysis, which is applied to its no-load mutual funds. Gender equality is also a core part of Pax World's shareowner advocacy. For example, Pax withholds proxy votes from, or votes against, every slate of company directors that includes no women, and follows up with a letter to each of those companies explaining why and encouraging the company to embrace board diversity. Three of Pax World's six in-house portfolio managers are women, as are three of six senior executives who sit on the senior management committee with the CEO, as well as half of the company's sales force in the field.
*Portfolio holding as of 5/28/10. Holdings are subject to change.
1United Nations Global Compact and United Nations Development Fund for Women, "Women's Empowerment Principles," 2010.
2Catalyst, "The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women's Representation on Boards," 2007.
3United Nations Global Compact and United Nations Development Fund for Women, "Women's Empowerment Principles," 2010.
ABOUT PAX WORLD MANAGEMENT LLC
Pax World Management LLC, the investment adviser to Pax World Funds, is a recognized leader in Sustainable Investing, the full integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment analysis and decision making. Pax World launched the financial industry's first socially responsible mutual fund in 1971. Today, Pax World offers a range of investment products including a family of no-load mutual funds, multi-manager asset allocation funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and separately managed accounts for institutional investors.
For more information, visit www.paxworld.com.