While hundreds of women have been coming forward with their stories of sexual harassment over the past months, an important question had gone unanswered: How can we monetize the suffering and courage of these survivors? A new exchange-traded fund has the solution. According to Reuters, the Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment fund (whose ticker will — no joke — be “WOMN”) is expected to be introduced in the first quarter of 2018 “for investors who want their money kept far away from sexual harassment in the workplace.”
The fund will track the Equileap North American Women’s Empowerment Index, 150 to 300 of the 1,000 largest U.S. companies by market value which are deemed “empowering to women” (so, not exactly women-founded small businesses). The index tracks 18 criteria, including protection of whistleblowers, and policies on bullying and sexual harassment. Companies are excluded from the index if there is an “alarm bell” such as multiple lawsuits alleging misconduct.
Supporting companies that empower women is certainly important, but an exchange-traded fund seems eerily similar to the kind of opportunistic corporate feminism that brought us the “Fearless Girl” statue and billionaire-funded progressive hotels.
Well, at least we have our feminist cheese.