State Street Global Advisors, the asset management business of State Street Corporation, today announced that since the arrival of its Fearless Girl on Wall Street one year ago, 152 publicly-traded companies that the firm reached out to, through either its voice or its vote, that previously had no women on their boards, now have at least one female board member.
“Our stewardship platform, exemplified by Fearless Girl, is making a significant impact,” said Rakhi Kumar, head of ESG Investments and Asset Stewardship for State Street Global Advisors. “Fearless Girl has sparked important conversations around the world, and has increased shareholder action on the issue of gender diversity. We applaud the many asset owners and managers controlling more than $13 trillion that have since joined us in our call to action. We are proud of the fact that 152 companies have placed women on their boards in just the last year. However, there is still important work to be done. The 152 leaves more than 600 companies in our original target universe that have still taken no action, and we will continue our engagement and voting efforts in 2018 as we look to make additional progress on this important issue.”
In the year since Fearless Girl was installed, State Street Global Advisors identified and reached out to 787 companies in the US, UK and Australia that had no women on their boards through direct engagement, its letter writing campaign or using its vote to address their lack of board diversity. Ultimately, State Street Global Advisors voted against 511 companies for failing to demonstrate progress on board diversity. In addition to the 152 companies that added a female board member, another 34 companies committed to adding at least one woman to their board in the near term. The firm also announced it would be expanding its board guidance to companies in Japan, Canada and Europe.
To build on Fearless Girl’s impact, State Street Global Advisors is now calling on portfolio companies to create more transparency and share more data about the number of women they have at all levels of management. State Street Global Advisors will begin screening and engaging with companies in the STOXX 600 and FTSE 350 indexes to start, seeking to understand company practices that promote diversity, and has plans to expand this effort in the future.
“Often when we engage with companies on the issue of board diversity we hear that the biggest challenge is a lack of suitable female candidates,” continued Kumar. “Our efforts can’t stop at the board level if we truly want companies to adopt policies and practices that will help strengthen gender diversity throughout their organizations, and ultimately contribute to a greater pool of female directors qualified to serve on a board.”
For more information on State Street Global Advisors’ asset stewardship efforts and its Fearless Girl campaign, click here.