The Fight for Gender Parity Continues: Remembering December 6th, 1989

I was in kindergarten when the Montreal Massacre happened. It was December 6th, 1989. In a delusional and violent attempt to “fight feminism”, Marc Lépine, 25 years-old, shot 28 people and killed 14 women, and then he committed suicide.

A lot has happened for women in Canada since then. But, so much has NOT happened. We continue to hear stories of sexual misconduct in the workplace, in schools and within the government. The growing media coverage of late has a lot to do with celebrities, of both genders, coming forward to tell of their experiences.

 

It’s insane to think that at the pace we are progressing, groups like Citibank and McKinsey Global Institute are projecting it will take another 100 years to achieve gender parity.

 

I’m sick and tired of the gender-pay-gap that exists here in Canada. And the fact that women from marginalized communities have a bleak hope of improving their socio-economic status, let alone create a better future for their children; all because we don’t have affordable childcare. I also find it incredibly bizarre that sexual misconduct in the workplace is still going on in 2017.

 

But, beyond that, it’s just financially silly for our nation to not prioritize gender-diversity in our businesses, schools, communities or the government.

 

Canada’s economy is currently taking a $150-billion hit because we are holding women back. Globally, $28 trillion could be added to the world’s annual GDP by 2025 if full gender equality could be achieved in the workforce.

 

You don’t need to be an investment banker to know that’s a lot money we’re leaving on the table.

 

The real kicker though, is that gender-diverse companies in North America deliver a higher rate of return compared to low gender-diverse companies; up to 2.2% greater annualized returns according to Morgan Stanley.

 

This year and last, boatloads of research has been published to support the business case for gender-diversity in the workplace. And that’s been driving the financial community to develop investment products, exchange traded funds (ETFs) in particular, like HERS and SHE.

 

These products only invest in North American companies that rank the highest in terms of having leading gender-diversity policies and practices. Canadian organizations like BMO, ScotiaBank, Intact and Sunlife have made the cut.

 

The best part about these gender-diverse investments is that they make money. That’s because organizations that are gender-diverse, at all levels, are more forward-thinking and efficient, which is what makes them more profitable.

 

Lately the media reports around gender-diverse investing have got me thinking about my own investments. Admittedly, I’ve never taken a gender lens to them and asked which help, or hurt, women’s progress. But, I’m doing that now because gender-parity is a core part of my values and I want to invest in organizations, products and people that reflect my passions and beliefs.

 

That’s called socially responsible investing.