Wall Street May Have Found a Way to Profit Off Addressing Workplace Sexual Harassment

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

In the rich tradition of fearless girl and leaning in, Wall Street continues its hollow championing of female empowerment with an exchange-traded fund “for investors who want their money kept far away from sexual harassment in the workplace.” In other words, the ETF will help people invest in companies that satisfy certain standards for supporting and not hurting women.

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The Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment fund is expected to launch in early 2018, Reuters reports. And, according to The Cut, its ticker will be “WOMN.”

The index will track 18 criteria—including bullying policies, the ability to maintain a work-life balance, and promotion opportunities—to determine how good companies are at creating an environment where women aren’t being harassed (or at least aren’t reporting it!). Companies can also be left off the index altogether if they’re dealing with multiple sexual misconduct lawsuits.

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Is this ok? you may well ask. After all, it’s not unheard of for Wall Street to offer companies “socially responsible investment” incentives. All I can tell you is that I know it’s bad because Dorri McWhorter, chief executive of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago told Reuters, “When women thrive, whole economies thrive.” Actually, women don’t deserve decency, respect, and fulfilling lives because it’s good for the economy, but because it’s good for them.

I suppose the venture also comes off as opportunistic—a ploy to profit even more, rather than materially redistribute wealth and power, which is always Wall Street’s way.

contributing writer, nights

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DISCUSSION

Codename_SailorV
Codename_SailorV

All I can tell you is that I know it’s bad because Dorri McWhorter, chief executive of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago told Reuters, “When women thrive, whole economies thrive.” Actually, women don’t deserve decency, respect, and fulfilling lives because it’s good for the economy, but because it’s good for them.

You know both can be true right? Sure, women deserve to go through life without being molested and disrespected at every turn because all human beings deserve that, but it’s also true that handicapping half of your work force is economically unproductive. I mean, I’d love it if the first argument could be enough to convince big businesses to adopt policies that would create more women-friendly workplaces but I’ve long since resigned myself to the reality that cold-hearted capitalists only make changes when they’re convinced that it’ll help their bottom line. So if the YWCA wants to try to help improve women’s lives in corporate America by using the sort of language execs are more likely to respond to, I’m more than okay with that. It’s not like anyone with a brain should think that the women at the YWCA don’t also think that women deserve respect for their own sakes.