8 min read

Dirty Big Secrets

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Hi there,

Investors may be in need of some self-care Saturday after digesting the headlines and market volatility this week. Analysts are advising caution and making grim predictions about the economy, which is at a critical juncture due to the war in Europe and rising inflation. It’s natural to worry about your money at times like these, especially with the dreaded word “recession” coming up, but sometimes less is more. Experts say young people investing for the long term are better off staying invested regardless of the ups and downs. Timing the market is extremely hard and historical data shows you can lose out on big gains if you pull out and sit on the sidelines.

Since we’re quickly approaching the final week of Women’s History Month, we want to refocus our attention on the glass ceiling in corporate America, those smashing it, and why there is a case for all investors to support them.

Many investors prioritize gender diversity because it’s a social cause important to them, but there are financial reasons all investors should care about it. The data says that companies that hired women as CEOs and CFOs got a boost in profitability, produced better than average stock returns, and had more female directors on the board. McKinsey reports women-led businesses outperformed their peers by 10%. Women in decision-making positions can also help retain and attract the best employees by bringing their unique insights to workplace policies. Considering the potential impact, some say increasing women in leadership roles should be an economic imperative.

There’s been progress in the last decade, including a push to get more women on boards, but we have a long way to go. Despite holding nearly half of all American jobs (excluding farms) and earning more college degrees than men, women are still woefully absent in leadership positions. In 2021, only 31 (6.2%) of S&P 500 CEOs and 41 (8.2%) of Fortune 500 CEOs were women; they held 31% of all S&P 500 board seats as of December. The New York Times famously drove the point home with a shocking and darkly funny statistic in 2015: fewer large companies were run by women than by men named John.

And sorry, Kim K, work ethic has little to do with it. Women have been systematically kept from climbing the corporate ladder, either directly due to bias, a lack of support and connections, and harassment in the workplace—or indirectly through inconsistent and expensive childcare and limits on paid family leave. A study of over 400 companies in North America revealed a “broken rung”: for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted.

If you’re looking to invest in companies that care about their women employees and hire and promote them, make sure to check out our deep dive on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and our guide to gender lens investing.

News you can use

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  • Exchange-traded funds focused on agricultural products (here’s a list) are soaring once again as the war continues and we enter a global food crisis. Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of farm goods (Russia is the #1 producer of wheat and Ukraine is #5), and since the invasion, wheat prices have increased by 21%, barley by 33%, and some fertilizers by 40%, per the New York Times.
  • The electric version of Ford’s iconic F-150 pickup truck can go up to 320 miles on a single charge, more than engineers expected. This is known as the range of an EV, and it was confirmed this week with EPA tests. Rival trucks from Rivian and Hummer have EPA-confirmed ranges of 314 miles and 329 miles, respectively, but Tesla is aiming for 500+ miles. The number of EV options in the US is expected to double this year, with 14 new SUVs, a van, and four pickups.
  • This National Single Parent Day saw the launch of a new dating app. Match Group, which is also behind Tinder, Match, OkCupid, and Hinge, says Stir is aimed at the 20 million single parents in the U.S. and comes with a new “me time” feature to help them coordinate schedules and find time for dates.

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