It’s important to talk about the lack of women on company boards, not only because women make up 51 percent of the population, but also because research has shown that diverse teams tend to make better decisions, offer more innovation and then earn more revenue from those innovations, said Kristin Hull, the founder of Nia Global Solutions.

Hull spoke as a guest panelist on gender-lens investing at Financial Advisor magazine’s Invest In Women conference earlier this month.

“The financial industry has got it a little bit wrong and it’s our turn and our opportunity to really fix some of these things,” said Hull.

Panel moderator Kristin Jenko, a vice president of Boston Common Asset Management, piggybacked on Hull’s statement by sharing McKinsey & Company’s 2015 Diversity Matters study. McKinsey studied over 366 public companies in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the United Kingdom and evaluated them on metrics including the composition of boards and top management, as well as financial outcomes.

McKinsey found companies in the study’s top quartile for gender diversity had financial returns 15 percent higher than their industry medians. Companies rated in the bottom quartile on gender and race issues lagged behind average companies, according to McKinsey; those companies were statistically less likely to have above-average returns.

Another study by global nonprofit Catalyst in 2011 of Fortune 500 companies showed similar findings. Those with the most women board directors in the data set outperformed the bottom quartile by 16 percent on return on sales. Companies in the highest quartile for their number of women directors also outperformed by 26 percent on return on invested capital compared with the bottom quartile. Companies that sustained their number of women board members for at least four years outperformed those with zero women board directors.

Nia Solutions and Boston Common are using such statistical information to help other advisors and investors see how companies outperform when they put more women in leadership positions. Both Nia and Boston Common examine gender diversity before adding companies to their portfolios.

Nia Global Solutions is a registered investment advisor and certified B corporation based in California that provides gender-lens investing opportunities, among other sustainable investment offerings. Hull said Nia’s six investment themes. align with U.N. sustainable development goals.

“Every company in our portfolio has a product or service that is important for women and their livelihood,” said Hull. Some companies have obvious benefits to women, like Hologic, which does breast cancer screenings and tests, while others may have less noticeable advantages, like Etsy, an ecommerce platform whose sellers are nearly 90 women.

Jenko noted Boston Common, an investment manager based in Boston, will only vote in favor of boards this year that have 30 percent women (up from 25 percent in 2017) to achieve impact at the board level and support the efforts of The Thirty Percent Coalition, an organization working to get corporate boardrooms to mirror the gender, racial and ethnic diversity of the U.S. workforce, says its website.

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