Press for Progress on International Women's Day

 

Press for Progress on International Women’s Day

Editorial Comments by Linda H Zhang

CEO and founder of Purview Investments, New York

Co-Founder and a board member of Women in ETFs, Global

 

March 8 is International Women’s Day.  I wish all mothers, daughters, grandmas and sisters happiness and empowerment on this special day!  I also want to send my deepest appreciation and affection to all members of Women in ETFs in every corner of the world and to my beloved co-founders of Women in ETFs.  YOU have enriched, inspired my work and deepened my appreciation for life.

Four years’ ago, Women in ETFs (WE), a non-profit organization for women in the exchange traded fund industry started the stock exchange bell ring event on International Women’s Day.  We hoped to raise the awareness of and to celebrate women’s contribution to workplace and society.  The celebration has quickly become a signature WE global event and has expanded its influence ever since.  

This week and the next, in collaboration with organizations such as UN Global Compact, UN Women, Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiatives, WE will ring the bells across continents.  A record of sixty-four global exchanges are joining us from Australia to Argentina, Canada to Croatia, India to Iceland, Japan to Jordan, New York to Nigeria… The impact is unexpected at times.  Debbie Fuhr, a co-founder of WE and the chief architect of the event shared a behind the scene story.  A man from the Qatar Stock Exchange asked if their exchange could join the global celebration. He said that there might not be women in the ETF field yet, but their exchange planned to list ETFs and they supported women empowerment. 

As a co-founder of Women in ETFs, I am incredibly proud of this organization’s positive influence on its 3,700 global WE members, on our industry and beyond.  This year, we dedicate the global bell ring to a new theme: Press for Progress.  

We challenge everyone to think what this means to you.  This is what Press for Progress means to Purview Investments and to me personally in 2018. 

1.      Press for Progress means translating  gender research ideas into investment solutions. 

Comprehensive research from MSCI, SSGA, Credit Suisse among others have overwhelmingly pointed out the business benefit for a more gender inclusive work place.  Companies with more woman in management and on board tend to avoid group thinking and lead to more thoughtful decisions, benefiting these firms in the long run.  Press for Progress has inspired me to launch an investment strategy to use ETFs founded on research ideas such as this.  Purview Impact Solutions, is designed as an Environment, Social and Governance principled ETF managed solutions.  We want to offer investors’ the opportunity to both meet investment goals and make an impact on clean environment and gender diversity in workplace.

2.      Press for Progress means moving from gender gap problems identification into pro-active actions.

There has been a severe women underrepresentation on the conference podium and in business media.  We have spotted a positive trend in last couple of years, yet it’s far from balanced.  Press for Progress inspired me to take on a new initiative with Elisabeth Kashner, an ETF industry veteran, Director of ETF Research at Factset.  We are leading the taskforce of WE Speaker’s Bureau by tapping into the incredibly deep talents of WE members, creating a list of the highest quality speakers.  They can speak with authority about every single aspect of the ETF ecosystem.  We want to take concrete steps to work with the conference organizer and financial media to raise the profile of women and to enrich the dialogue in conferences and financial media.

We challenge every company’s CEO and each rank and file of managers to think deeply about what Press for Progress means to you and your team.  That might mean developing a pipeline for women leadership, establishing a goal for women in senior managements, improving transparency on gender policies, including gender pay as well as career advancements,  standing up to that corporate bully when he habitually belittles the work of your female colleagues, developing family supportive policies, and perhaps even lobbying a daycare center right in your office building to help keeping talented young mothers on their career tracks.

Recently, six large US financial institutional have announced 99% gender pay parity, after the adjustments of functions, positions and locations.  However, the vast majority of higher paying jobs are still with men in these organizations.  According to Bloomberg Global Gender-Equity Index, that tracks 104 companies with best gender practice globally, women made up 46% of the work force, yet hold just 19% of executive level roles within these gender progressive firms. 

Gender equity is not women’s issue.  It is not men’s issue.  It is OUR issue.   On this day of celebration, let’s all start a road map tonight, women and men.  Think hard of what Press for Progress means to you, your women colleagues on your team, and your sisters and daughters who are about to start their careers.  And most importantly, what you can do to transform your thoughts into actions, starting tomorrow morning!  But before you draw that map tonight, remember to call your mother, and give big hugs to all the women in your household, and maybe some flowers, too.  Happy International Women's Day!

 

Memories from the global bell ring events 2017.

 Global Bell Ring at IEX Exchange in New York to celebrate International Women's Day, 2017

Global Bell Ring at IEX Exchange in New York to celebrate International Women's Day, 2017

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Global Bell Ring at NASDAQ to celebrate International Women's Day, 2017