As WoWE celebrates its two-year milestone, I wanted to take this moment to thank you for your partnership and reflect on the significant developments of the past year, how we are responding, as well as share our strategic direction.
The events of 2020 have placed a spotlight on the critical role women are playing as world leaders, business leaders, front-line workers, caretakers and more while highlighting how today’s pressing problems have a disproportionate impact on the lives of women and girls. Women are demonstrating exemplary strength and leadership within their communities and on the global stage.
All of this has wholly reinforced the material role that WoWE has to play in building a sustainable and balanced financial system in which women fairly share leadership roles, and direct and manage an equitable proportion of capital, to the benefit of communities and economies. WoWE is focused on the urgent need to act on the growing body of research that demonstrates how integrating gender factors into business and investment decisions, leads to long-term value creation, strong financial returns, and sustainability.
Over the past year WoWE has laid down a strong foundation to scale our work. The endowment is now staffed by a team drawn from leading investment brands and backed by an Advisory Team and Board of financial and impact industry leaders. Key strategic partnerships are in place with Tara Health Foundation, UN Women, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania, As You Sow and others.
Significantly, we secured an investment into our endowment corpus and have built up a strong investment record and financial returns. We are actively engaged in developing a private markets strategy in response to COVID-19 and racial and structural inequities, focused on benefiting underrepresented communities, including women and minorities.
We continue to build towards a $5 billion endowment to significantly influence financial markets and an equal playing field for women and girls and the businesses and communities they empower. We are in a better position to absorb additional capital and deploy our leading expertise – investing at the intersection of gender and the most pressing social and environmental issues, and building out the innovations the GLI field needs.
This work can be both hard and exhilarating. I am extremely grateful for the continued support of the WoWE team and the individuals and organizations who stand beside us and the advances we are collectively committed to for a sustainable planet.
Founder & CEO
Women of the World Endowment
A cornerstone contribution to WoWE
This year WoWE received a $5 million contribution from Dr. Ruth Shaber, Founder and President of Tara Health Foundation. Ruth is a globally regarded leader in gender lens investing and an advocate for the improvement of the health and well-being of women and girls. In September 2020, Ruth was named in the Forbes Impact 50 which recognizes individuals in America investing in opportunities that have a positive social and environmental impact. Commenting on her contribution to WoWE, Ruth said, “WoWE presents a unique opportunity for investors committed to advancing equality by investing at the intersection of gender and today’s most pressing problems including, healthcare, climate, social justice and more, via an institutional-quality endowment that delivers both impact and financial returns”. We are so grateful for Ruth’s support and the ongoing and active role she plays as a member of WoWE’s Board.
Strong performance despite a challenging environment
WoWE’s gender lens investing strategy delivers robust results and impacts lives. Since inception the portfolio has returned 18.4%, at 5.5% over its benchmark (09/30/2020), demonstrating that allocating capital with a gender lens investing screen yields risk-adjusted returns comparable to other market strategies.
Appointment of an exemplary Board
WoWE celebrated the appointment of three outstanding board members with a track record of investment across public and private markets. Each are long-standing leaders in institutional and impact investing and have as strong commitment to advancing gender equality.
- Lili Forouraghi is a Managing Director with BlackRock. For over 17 years Lili has held roles in the firm’s asset management and advisory services businesses. Prior to joining BlackRock, she was with Goldman Sachs in Asset Management.
- Takuro Kimura is Founder and CEO of G-Cubed Partners which invests in early state ventures in frontier countries in Asia. Takuro has spent over 30 years involved in multibillion-dollar investing with impact in emerging markets via financial institutions in the private and public sector.
- Ruth Shaber MD is the Founder and President of the Tara Health Foundation which promotes health, well-being and opportunity for women and girls through investment in innovative evidence-informed programs. She is also the co-founder and board chair of Rhia Ventures.
A team of investment professionals
We have made significant progress over the past year building a strong team of investment professionals, to drive the day-to-day operations of WoWE, from leading financial and investment brands. This exceptional team of investment professionals brings to WoWE institutional investment experience across the public and private markets.
Partnerships for accelerating change
In light of the impact of COVID-19 we believe there is more urgency to scale assets deployed into GLI, to develop innovations to increase the number of gender lens products available, and to build up the market as a whole. For this to happen with speed and scale, collaboration is critical. Over the past year WoWE has played a leadership role in bringing together key players across the ecosystem and crowding in the best minds to develop the field. WoWE has implemented on the ideas from these collaborations in different areas including:
Value-based investing delivers
Our strategy leverages As You Sow’s Invest Your Values tool to screen funds using corporate performance on 18 key gender equality indicators. The tool also screens funds against a range of environmental and social issues, including climate change, prison and weapon investments. We are also delighted to share the involvement of Patience on As You Sow’s Racial Justice and Prison Free Funds Advisory Committees, a collaboration that has enabled our deeper understanding of the intersectional nature of GLI with other sustainability themes.
Development of a Gender Lens Scoring Methodology to Rate Government Debt
WoWE is working with the Center for High Impact Philanthropy (CHIP) at the University of Pennsylvania to develop a gender lens scoring methodology to rate government debt which will result in a portable, replicable, rules-based scoring methodology for global government debt, grounded in empirical evidence and built with available data. The methodology is anchored in the five critical indicators impacting women’s lives: Health, Education, Economic Empowerment, Personal Safety, and Legal Rights as identified in the XX Factor: A Comprehensive Framework for Improving the Lives of Women & Girls. This work is the outcome of a partnership with UN Women.