Pax World Management LLC, investment adviser to Pax World Funds (Pax World) has launched a campaign to promote greater gender diversity on corporate boards by urging investors to withhold support from corporate proxy slates that do not include women directors. Pax World is urging other institutional investors, investment advisors and individuals to adopt proxy voting guidelines – like those followed by Pax World and other asset managers in the Sustainable Investing arena – that oppose all slates of director nominees that do not include women.

Here are some simple steps that you can take as an individual investor if you would like to use your proxy voting power to support board diversity:

Step one: If you are an individual shareholder of a company:

  • Download a copy of a letter to send to a Company CEO and board chair for companies that that have no women on the board slate
  • Download a copy of a letter to send to a Company CEO and board chair that has only 1 woman on the board slate

Step Two:  If you own a mutual fund

  • Download a copy of a letter to send to the CEO of your mutual fund company

Step Three:

  • Call your financial advisor and  instruct the advisor to vote against or withhold votes from all-male slates of directors

    Additional resources:

    Here is what institutional investors can do:

    • Adopt a proxy voting policy that states that votes for director candidates will be withheld if the entire slate is male. An example of such a policy is Pax World’s proxy voting guideline on board diversity:

    Director Elections

    Directors are stewards of shareowner interests. An effective board is independent in letter and action, elected annually, diverse, attentive and accountable. Though national and state standards of governance may vary, these principles of directorships are constant. Pax World will generally withhold from or vote against slates of director nominees in the following situations:

    • When there are no women on the board of directors, in countries where the average percentage of women on boards of directors of publicly traded companies is generally less than 5 percent.
    • When there are no minorities on the board of directors. In cases where we are unable to determine the racial or gender make-up of the board of directors, Pax World will assume that the board is lacking this diversity and will vote accordingly.

    Pax World will generally withhold from or vote against individual nominees in the following situations:

    • In countries where the percentage of women on boards of directors is more than 5 percent, Pax World will withhold from or vote against male director nominees when there are less than two women on boards of directors.

    Register your concerns with the company through a follow-up letter explaining the reason for your opposition, urging them to embrace gender diversity on their board and providing them with model charter language for their nominating committee establishing a board.

    Other leading institutional investors with Proxy Voting Guidelines on board gender diversity that SAY NO to all male director slates:

    • Boston Common Asset Management
    • Calvert Asset Management Company
    • Christian Brothers Investment Services
    • Clean Yield Asset Management
    • Domini Social Investments LLC
    • First Affirmative Financial Network
    • The Sustainability Group
    • Trillium Asset Management
    • Unitarian Universalist Association
    • Walden Asset Management
    • Zevin Asset Management LLC

    How can I find out more about the Say No to All Male Boards Campaign?
    For additional information, please contact Kathleen McQuiggan, Senior Vice President, Global Women's Strategies for Pax World Management LLC, at kmcquiggan@paxworld.com.