By Julie Simeone
What bottom-line benefits do financial services – and the U.S. economy – gain from a more diverse pool of highly talented thought-leaders? How can the financial crisis become a catalyst to help identify and remove barriers to women’s success in financial services? How can we hold up highly successful women in finance and the companies that advance them as role models? What more do we need to know to foster change?
These are just a sampling of the questions that were addressed during a recent panel discussion with Rosie Rios, Treasurer of the United States, Michelle Clayman, Founder, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of New Amsterdam Partners LLC, Joe Keefe, President and CEO of Pax World Management LLC, and Rebecca Patterson, Managing Director and Global Head of Foreign Exchange and Commodities at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. The panel was moderated Bloomberg Anchor and Co-host of “Inside Track,” Deirdre Bolton. Also speaking were Linda Basch, President of the National Council for Research on Women, Catherine Keating, CEO of J.P. Morgan U.S. Private Bank, and Jacki Zehner, Vice Chair of the Women’s Funding Network.
As reported in The Glass Hammer,
There are a number of ways to improve circumstances for women in the financial services industry. But they aren’t all easy. Keefe explained, “When any group is oppressed, someone benefits from that – someone in power – and they’re not going to suddenly [change] because it’s the right thing to do.”
“There needs to be more pressure on companies,” he continued, “and I think investing can do a lot.” Keefe explained that Pax puts pressure on companies through its proxy voting policy, by which it does not support slates of all male directors. He explained that there is plenty of research showing that companies perform better when there are more women at the top, and it’s in investors’ financial best interest not to support those companies that have no female directors.
Also, don't miss their profile of Joe Keefe  and his policies on gender equality and diversity:
"Our women’s empowerment platform includes applying a gender lens to all of our funds, while our Global Women’s Equality Fund is the only mutual fund in America focused on investing in companies that are global leaders in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. Additionally, our proxy voting policy is straightforward: if the slate of directors is all male, we withhold support and send a letter to the company explaining why and encouraging them to embrace gender diversity.”