Morningstar has launched a gender diversity index in partnership with specialist data provider Equileap.

The Morningstar Eurozone Gender Diversity Select 50 index targets companies that align with ESG standards and which have strong gender diversity policies and practices within their culture.

Constituents’ weighting will be influenced by gender diversity data and scoring methodology which includes gender balance at all corporate levels and companies that incorporate equal opportunities for all employees.

The index is the latest in Morningstar’s broader diversity index series which also includes the Morningstar Developed Markets Ex-Japan Gender Diversity index. The index is licensed to Citi to underlie structured products.

Amelia Furr, head of sales at Morningstar Indexes, said: “The launch of the index comes amid growing scrutiny of the make-up of investor portfolios. Investors and corporations have a role to play in developing gender equality.

“Societies that tap into the full potential of their populations are more competitive. The same principles carry over to the business world – research has shown that forward-looking diversity policies often go hand-in-hand with the better long-term performance of a business.”

Diana van Maasdijk, co-founder and CEO of Equileap, added: “As investors increasingly demand opportunities to make a real social impact with their investments, interest in gender lens investing is steadily rising. 

“This partnership expands the choice investors now have for gender lens investing indices and products, and together we are responding to a growing market demand and allowing investors to make the informed, data-driven decisions that will help close the gender equality gap in the workplace.”

There are currently two gender equality ETFs listed in Europe, the €50m Lyxor Global Gender Equality UCITS ETF (ELLE) and the $1.6bn UBS ETF Global Gender Equality UCITS ETF (GENE), both of which track the Solactive Equileap Global Gender Equality 100 Leaders index.

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