The ‘Girl Fund’ will prioritise shares in firms where women are represented at all levels.
In a bid to tackle inequality in the workplace, one of the UK’s biggest investment firms has launched a £50m fund to encourage companies to prioritise gender diversity.
Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), one of the UK’s most prominent asset management companies, has created the L&G Future World Gender in Leadership UK Index Fund – more snappily known as the ‘Girl Fund’.
LGIM will score and rank companies according to the percentage of women employed in four areas: on the board of directors; at executive level; in management; and across the workforce.
Companies will be expected to reach a minimum of 30% representation of women in each of these areas to receive investment from the Girl Fund, and those with the best gender diversity will be favoured.
“Gender inequality is one of the key issues of our time – and one that generates so much frustration,” said Helena Morrissey, head of personal investing at LGIM. “Rather than feeling trapped or despondent, let’s do something about it.”
The fund will be open to small and large investors, meaning that you could invest your money in companies selected by the Girl Fund for as little as £30 a month. Morrissey said this would “[empower] us all to use our money to help companies to progress”.
“When we invest in the success of women, we are investing in the success of business,” she continued. “Collectively, we can help achieve gender equality and improve gender diversity in the UK.”
LGIM said it was considering adding another measure to its method of analysing a company’s gender diversity: the pay gap. Figures uncovered by the government’s mandatory gender pay gap reporting period earlier this year showed that eight out of 10 UK companies and public sector bodies pay men more than women, with women earning a median hourly rate of 10% less than their male colleagues.
One frequently-cited reason for the gender pay gap is the relative lack of women in the most senior positions in most industries. Earlier this week, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced a ground-breaking scheme to get more women into leadership roles in the capital. Find out more about that initiative here.
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