Podcast: Speaking out for gender equality

How a safe, gender-diverse workplace empowers people and boosts results

17 Jan 2018
  • More and more women are speaking out about sexual harassment and unfair power dynamics, and major corporations are taking note.
  • UBS's research shows that, on average, companies with a greater representation of women in leadership positions and on Boards of Directors exhibited greater profitability over a five year period.

More and more women are speaking out about sexual harassment and unfair power dynamics in the workplace. Huge corporations, where change tends to evolve slowly, have taken remarkably swift action on sexual harassment of late. Why is that? Who loses when inappropriate behavior goes unpunished? And how can gender diversity affect company performance?

In a new podcast, Laura Kane, Head of Investment Themes Americas, CIO Americas, Wealth Management, UBS, shares insights for investors on the value of equality and diversity in the workplace, drawing on UBS's extensive research of these topics.

Companies that tolerate harassment and unfair gender practices, she notes, risk alienating not only customers and employees, but also investors—many of whom are paying increasing attention to "ESG," or environmental, social and corporate governance, criteria in their investment decision-making.

"Investors don't want exposure to reputational blowups," Kane said. "They're also becoming increasingly conscious of how their portfolios actually line up with their personal values and beliefs."

In addition to empowering employees, safe and gender-diverse work environments are vital to the long-term health of companies. "Our research has shown that, on average, companies with a greater representation [of women] in leadership and in the Board of Directors exhibited greater profitability over a five year period, and their stock prices tended to outperform, even when we adjusted for biases like size, style and sector," Kane said.

"Investing with a Gender Lens" is a CIO theme and includes a list of companies that were screened based on a minimum level of participation in corporate leadership and that CIO's equity sector strategists view as being fundamentally attractive. Read Sustainable investing: Investing with a gender lens (PDF, 366 KB).

Are you ready to pursue what matters most as an investor? Together we can find an answer. Connect with your UBS Financial Advisor or find one.

Disclosures: