Shifting Focus: Three Women Investing Funds in 2021


May. 5 2021, Published 3:47 p.m. ET

Investors can take many lenses for impact investing, and one of them is gender. Women make up 47 percent of the U.S. workforce and 7.4 percent of CEO positions in the Fortune 500. Women investing funds help investors impact companies that operate as gender diverse.

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Fortunately for shareholders, the returns for these women investing funds compound returns in a well-diversified portfolio. 

Gender lens investing and how women investing funds prioritize it

According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), gender lens investing is defined as "investing with the intent to address gender issues or promote gender equity."

Each index or ETF has different limitations set by the fund manager. For example, some might require that a company's board of executives be at least 25 percent female to qualify for the index or have a female CEO.

Other methodologies include workplaces that actively promote gender equity or companies with products or services meant to improve the lives of women.

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1. The Pax Ellevate Global Women's Leadership Fund (PXWEX)

The Pax Ellevate Global Women's Leadership Fund (PXWEX) focuses on:

  • Companies with gender-diverse boards, senior leadership teams, and policies
  • Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards
  • Businesses that are fossil-fuel free

PXWEX has been around since 2000. YTD, the fund has performed slightly below the market average at 9.21 percent in the green (for reference, the S&P 500 has returned 12.56 percent YTD).

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However, the long-term outlook is heartening for this fund. The 12-month trailing returns are 41.7 percent, while the five-year outlook is 64.31 percent.

The fund's top holdings include Microsoft, Estee Lauder, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, Lululemon Athletica, PayPal, and Ulta Beauty.

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Keep in mind that this mutual fund carries a 0.8 percent expense ratio, which means higher fees than many ETFs. However, the impactful nature of the fund plus decent long-term returns make it worthwhile for many investors. 

2. Fidelity Women's Leadership (FWOMX) Takes a Different Approach

The Fidelity Women's Leadership Fund (FWOMX) is another mutual fund with an eye on gender equity. The fund focuses on high-performing companies that "prioritize and advance women’s leadership and development," according to Barron's. This means having a woman leader, at least one-third of the board as female, or identifiably gender-equitable practices.

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FWOMX is a much newer women investing fund than PXWEX and launched in 2019. With that in mind, the lifetime returns are at 53.10 percent. YTD, the fund is above the market average at 14.13 percent in the green.

The fund's top holdings include Microsoft, Salesforce, Nasdaq Inc., Morningstar, and NVIDIA.

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The fund's expense ratio is even higher at a full one percent, so consider if it ties in with your long-term investing goals as part of a diverse portfolio. 

3. The SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE)

The SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE) has more than a clever ticker. This ETF paves the way for gender-diverse leadership investments specifically for large-cap companies.

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YTD, SHE stock is up 11.52 percent. Founded in 2016, the fund has delivered 63.26 percent lifetime returns.

The fund's top holdings include PayPal, Texas Instruments, Wells Fargo, Netflix, Nike, and Square.

SHE includes companies that provide shareholder dividends. The current total yield is 0.3 percent. The expense ratio is a passively influential 0.2 percent.  


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