Inclusive Becomes Sexist, In One Easy Step

If you want to play the market—
And to out-perform the Dow—
There’s an index fund that’s figured out
A brand-new method how!
If you recognize diversity
In leadership positions
You can make a great portfolio
From other funds’ omissions!

If you specialize in companies
Where women are in charge
You’re omitting eighty-nine percent
(Cos men rule, by and large)
See, women in the boardroom
Are a rarity, it’s true,
But investing in these women
Can be lucrative for you!

But! Addressing disproportion
In the modern business scheme
Means investing more in women!
(It’s a feminazi dream!)
So the MRA’s start screaming
“This is sexist, can’t you see?—
Why, such actions are atrocious…
They no longer favor me!

So… I found this by traveling backward, having seen the final product first–but I think it best to start at the beginning. There is, New Hampshire Public Radio reports, an index fund that focuses on companies with women in leadership positions:

There are 406 companies in Pax’s new index fund, including Microsoft, General Electric, and Estee Lauder. Besides being well-established brands, they have one thing in common: women in leadership positions. Ninety-seven percent of all the companies in the fund have two or more female board members. In a traditional index fund, says Pax CEO Joe Keefe, women sit on only about 11 percent of board seats.

You know there’s significant research at this point showing that where women are better represented on corporate board and where women are better represented in senior company management that those companies actually perform better.

So… 2 or more female board members. So most of the boards still have men, and may well have a majority of men. There’s no real threat to men here, nor is there any implied in the research:

It’s not that women are better at business than men. Sorry, ladies. “What the research points to,” Keefe says, “is that diverse groups make better decisions than non-diverse groups.”

Ok, I could do without the “Sorry, ladies.” What the research is telling us is what feminists have long realized: you don’t do your business any favors by excluding half of the potential brainpower. If the existing inequalities (seriously, 89% of companies have no women on their boards?) are there because men are naturally better at business, this fund should tank. But no, a fund that addresses institutional sexism is doing quite well!

The NHPR article is titled “Pax Index Bets Women-Led Firms Can Beat The Stock Market“. I’d probably have read it with that title anyway, but that was not the title I first saw. Via a box at the Union Leader, the first title I saw was “Pax World believes sexist fund can beat the market“.

That’s right–a fund that seeks inclusiveness and diversity, because it deliberately searches for the 1/9th of companies that have both men and women on their boards, and not the 8/9ths of companies that have men only, has been labeled “sexist”.


  1. says

    “Sorry, ladies.”

    While I agree that the comment was unnecessary, it is a common phrase (16,600,000 Ghits, for what that’s worth) and, as a wordsmith yourself, you probably already know that we are rather lumbered with the language we’ve got at any particular time—I looked on it as ironic, rather like “nigger” in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but then I’m usually wrong :-)

  2. John Horstman says

    Oh, snap; I know where I’m transferring my investments. Or maybe not – the individual investment option has an expense ratio of .99%, which is a bit higher than the median, and WAY higher than my current Vanguard index funds, which are all below .2%. Barclay’s index provides another option, but I don’t see any actual index mutual funds that are using it yet.

    seriously, 89% of companies have no women on their boards?

    Well, not exactly. 89% of corporate board positions in the average index fund are held by men. That could mean that every single company in the average index fund has 1 woman and 8 men (though it clearly doesn’t actually mean that – more likely, a lot of companies have no women, some have one or two, and some have several – perhaps even many – women, off-setting some of those with no women). It could be that 99% of companies have no women on their boards, and 1% have all-woman boards, or countless other configurations.

  3. Robert B. says

    I don’t think the article you quote (or rather, the person named Keefe you quote the article quoting) is talking about the untapped talents of women (though that probably is a thing). They seem to be talking about the value of diversity itself, that a variety of viewpoints make for better decision making. (From what you’ve said about your internet habits, I deduce you are familiar with this idea.)

    (I planted parentheses in my garden this year and now I have way too many of them. (It’s like zucchini. (Do you want some?)))

  4. Cuttlefish says

    Robert B–He clearly is talking about the benefit of diversity, I agree.

    My point was not about that, but about the change in description, from “women-led” to “sexist”.

  5. Bryan Long says

    I also remember reading about better science being done with more diverse groups. Having people with different backgrounds and experiences is the best way to offset our unavoidable biases.

  6. zekehoskin says

    My favorite poems are those
    (That LISP programmers write, ( I suppose
    For pure recreation
    (With good punctuation
    (And parentheses uses that close))))


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