Tell CEOs to prioritize women in leadership

Fidelity

While women represent 44% of the overall S&P 500 labor force, they are only 25% of executive and senior level official and managers and hold only 20% of board seats.(1) In recent years, the percentage of women in top management positions and on boards has stalled.(2)

Lack of gender diverse leadership is bad for business. Research from Morgan Stanley, (3) McKinsey, (4) and Robeco Sam (5) suggests gender diverse leadership leads to superior stock price performance and return on equity. McKinsey states, “the business case for the advancement and promotion of women is compelling.”

McKinsey conducted a comprehensive survey and analysis (6) that tells us CEOs need to set a specific strategic priority for advancement of women into leadership roles. It is one of three best practices for driving change in women's leadership (the other two are persistence and holistic change programs). It make good business and societal sense. One study documenting this effect is from The Peterson Institute for International Economics. The Institute found that having women at the C-level significantly increases net margins.(7)

Fidelity has not set specific gender diversity guidance in its proxy voting policy, and has not publicly voted against directors when diversity is lacking, unlike its peers State Street and BlackRock. (8) Fidelity needs to hold CEOs of the companies it owns accountable to increasing the number of women in leadership roles and to make transparent its efforts to do so.

(1) Catalyst, “Women in S&P 500 Finance”

http://catalyst.org/knowledge/women-sp-500-finance

(2) Committee for Economic Development, “Fulfilling the Promise”

(3) https://www.morganstanley.com/pub/content/dam/msdotcom/ideas/gender-diversity-toolkit/Gender-Diversity-Investing-Primer.pdf

(4) https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/promoting-gender-parity-in-the-global-workplace

(5)http://edge-cert.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Does-corporate-gender-equality-lead-to-outperformance.pdf

(6) https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/featured insights/women matter/reinventing the workplace for greater gender diversity/women-matter-2016-reinventing-the-workplace-to-unlock-the-potential-of-gender-diversity/ashx

(7) https://piie.com/publications/working-papers/gender-diversity-profitable-evidence-global-survey

(8) https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060_www_fidelity_com/documents/Full-Proxy-Voting-Guidelines-for-Fidelity-Funds-Advised-by-FMRCo-and-SelectCo.pdf