ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Investment Tips for Socially Conscious Women

Updated on October 30, 2012
Do you put your money where your values lie?
Do you put your money where your values lie? | Source

More than 50% of the money invested in the United States belongs to women. Certainly, a good deal of these invested monies belongs to women of independent means. But, a great piece of this pie belongs to women through their pension funds, 401(k) plans, and similar financial management devices. And many of these women are interested in making socially responsible investments.

Socially responsible investments are those made in publicly held corporations that demonstrate policies and practices that appear in the public interest. These investments are made in corporations that practice and promote sustainability, environmental issues, equal rights and fair labor practices, manage and/or reduce emissions and hazardous waste, and other similar social issues. Socially conscious investors want to make money and to profit from their risk. But, they also want to make the money on business that does “good” things.

Given the way the stock market works, if enough investors favor the “good” companies, the “bad” companies will suffer because the value of their shares drops. A drop in the market value also cuts the incomes of senior executives who hold a lot of the shares as deferred income. Maybe this will get their attention.

Exception: Many stockholders retain their stocks or purchased their shares with the intention of protesting the company’s practices. They promote change from within, often resorting to “guerilla” tactics at stockholder meetings. They press for more transparency and heightened social awareness in policy and practice. They secure votes of confidence in corporation leadership.

Socially responsible corporations share characteristics including avoiding::

· Products, such as blood diamonds, tobacco, and armaments, which have undisputed negative impact on the well being of society

· Business practices with negative effects on the physical or human environment, regardless of the quality or positive impact of the product or service

Stocks and mutual funds in investments designated as “socially responsible” do make money. Some of them outperform the standard indexes. You can also hand pick investments focused on favorite causes, such as water conservation or animal treatment concerns. You can find funds that attract the special interests of Catholics and others that attract Muslims. There are corporations that please Republicans and others that favor platforms issues of the Democrats.

You can invest through brokers with avowed social interest bias, such as New Ground or Natural Investments. They will do what you want or bring investment ideas to you. And, you can invest through socially focused investment clubs, such as the one at Messiah College or the University of Pittsburgh’s David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership.

You can follow performance of stocks and mutual funds that interest you if you know your way around the Dow Jones website, but you can also follow them on other indexes: Calvert Social Index, Citizens Index, and The Domini Index. There has been a substantial increase in the assets invested, the number of funds and stocks screened for social concerns, and the banks that pursue the same interests.

The ten year performance on the top 10 socially responsible investment (SRI) funds ranges from 5% to 7.16%. Overall, as measured by the Domini Index, the SRI stocks and funds hold their own with the Standard and Poor indexes. Specifically green funds have performed consistently but well below the S&P. According to the Global Market Index (GMI), the highest rated socially attentive corporations outperformed the S&P 500 by 16% over 5 years. Among the sources of information are The Social Investment Forum and its organization of Socially Responsible Investment professionals.

Successful investment in SRI stocks or funds requires certain assumptions:

· Investors need to self-assess and determine exactly what they mean by “socially responsible.” You may be able to find businesses that deliver on some issues, but it is not likely that they can deliver on all. For example, Wal-Mart scores A+ in some categories and D in others. Another company may re-cycle admirably but employ illegal aliens or exploit foreign labor.

· You need to figure out what you want. Wanting to earn a certain return may not be consistent with the wish to terminate a CEO’s performance or change corporate behaviors. For example, a corporation may be profitable in spite of the product liability litigation that results on the CEO’s watch.

· You need to understand the market and its operation. For example, values change constantly and may or may not have a one-on-one relationship with the company’s social or anti-social actions. You need to understand that the results that are meaningful are measured over 5 or 10 years, so there is little impact your money will have this week or this year.

· You need to appreciate that corporate culture is a very difficult thing to change, a very big shop to turn around. It does respond to swings in stock values, but it needs swings that are deep and broad to matter.

Recommendation: It is not within my authority to recommend one stock or another. But, a tip to women might be to look for corporations with female leadership or for funds or stocks with “women” in the name. We should not assume that women-run corporations are necessarily more inclined to green or socially responsible issues. However, there is some record of correlation between the two.

There is, for example, the Women's Equity fund that specifically channels investment towards companies with records of female leadership and practices that enable positive work/life balance.

Heads-up corporations have gotten ahead of this, reporting annually on their efforts in the areas of social concern. And, the concerned investors, with over $12 billion invested, may have a momentum in the works to help define what a corporation needs to be. One escape a negative corporation can pursue is to buy-up smaller companies with socially responsible reputations. “Big Tobacco,” for example, has diversified its interests broadly into markets and products that buffer their negative image. By doing so, the negative partner in the merger can skew the criteria. This demands vigilance and attention by the investor. Women would, then, be advised to research and study the market’s investments, to find a trusted broker with similar interests, or to follow the advice of a 401(k) model.


Submit a Comment

  • Rose West profile image

    Rose West 

    7 years ago from Michigan

    This is just the hub I've been looking for! I'm going to bookmark for future reference.

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 

    7 years ago from San Francisco

    Hurrah for socially responsible investments! Great tips! I'll keep this in mind for the day when I start seriously investing.

  • Deborah-Diane profile image


    7 years ago from Orange County, California

    I belonged to a Woman's Investment Club for over 10 years, and being socially responsible investors was very important to us. Great hub!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)