ETF joins gender equality battle

Jonathan Boyd
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Equileap, the Netherlands based provider of investment tools and information, has announced the launch of the the UBS Global Gender Equality Ucits ETF on the SIX exchange in Switzerland, based on its Global Gender Equality 100 Leaders index.

This is just the first of a number of possible product launches, as Diana van Maasdijk, CEO of Equileap, suggested that there are “a few interesting developments ahead for us in 2018, starting with this ETF with UBS.”

Equileap provides data related to gender equality in the corporate sector, having built a database that covers some 3,000 companies worldwide. The data can be used for different purposes, including guidelines for companies, or ranking employees and candidates. It can also be used for engendering financial products.

The ETF just launched is the result of collaboration with UBS Asset Management and UBS Wealth Management, Equileap said.

Michael Baldinger, head of Sustainable and Impact Investing at UBS Asset Management, said: “This is another big step in sustainable and impact investing innovation. The launch of this new ETF provides investors with a unique opportunity to benefit from systematically investing in the leading global companies on gender diversity, based on Equileap’s pioneering research into corporate gender diversity, while at the same time having the potential to achieve strong returns.”

The Equileap Global Gender Equality 100 index is part of a family of five gender equality indices that are calculated by Solactive, the index provider. The 100 index tracks 100 companies out of some 3,000 globally. Inclusion on the list is dependent on  factors such as:

  • Being a company from any of 23 developed countries
  • Liquidity criteria
  • ESG screening; this excludes companies deriving the majority of their revenues from weapons, gambling or tobacco, and excludes those on the Norwegian Ethics Council list
  • Gender screening; performed by Equileap and which ranks companies on 19 criteria across four categories including gender balance in leadership and workforce, equal compensation and work-life balance, policies promoting gender equality, and commitment to transparency and accountability.

EU Objectives

Addressing the gender pay gap is a key policy objectives of the European Union, and forms part of its European Employment Strategy first outlined in 1997, and which constitutes part of the Europe 2020 growth strategy.

According to Eurostat, there are significant ongoing pay differences between men and women employed in the EU.

Unadjusted gender pay gap, 2015 (difference between average gross hourly earnings of male and female employees as % of male gross earnings


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