Wharton Women in ESG

This March, the ESG Initiative celebrates International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Meet the women trailblazing the future of ESG, engage with our leading gender lens investing research, learn about the projects we support by and for women, and more.

Gender Lens Investing

Can Investing in Public Equities Improve the Lives of Women?

An increasing number of individuals want to use their investments to achieve both a positive financial return and a positive impact for women. And, an increasing number of public equity funds are offering investment vehicles designed to do just this, shares Katherine Klein, Faculty Director of the Impact Investing Research Lab and Edward H. Bowman Professor of Management at Wharton. Read More >>

Additional Research: Four Signs a Company is a Good Employer for Women; Understanding Social Impact and Inspiring Action

The Surprising Trade-Offs of Gender Centrality in Investing

Funds that are high in gender centrality are putting their money where their mouths are — their commitment to girls and women shows up in how they operate, shares Michael Brown, Head of Research at the ESG Initiative. In an apparent trade off, funds that are higher in gender centrality have a smaller percentage of people of color in leadership and investment committee roles, and they focus less on ending global poverty. Read More >>

Additional Research: Impact Finance Research Consortium; The Challenge of Measuring Impact Performance

Project Sage 4.0

Recent research quantifies the size and growth of gender lens investing and analyzes the latest trends.

Increase of Gender Lens Funds
Senior Leadership Identifies as Female
Total Capital Raised

Suzanne Biegel smiling in a dark jacket and bright blue glasses against a white wall
Suzanne Biegel, W’84

Catalyst at Large Ltd

Sandi Hunt smiling in a black blouse against a white wall

Sandi M. Hunt

Managing Director
ESG Initiative at the Wharton School

Supporting Projects by Women and for Women

Student Co-Curricular Offerings

At the ESG Initiative, we are committed to creating transformational opportunities for students. We offer a robust set of student programs and resources to match your interests in ESG and business.

Wharton students sitting and standing around a window as they talk

Two models walking down a sunny street wearing wearwell pursesHow this Philly Start-Up is Making Fashion More Sustainable and Ethical

Penn students in Wharton Impact Venture Associates sourced an impact investment deal into wearwell, a clothing-subscription start-up based in Philadelphia that offers only ethically-sourced clothing and aims to change the narrative through championing sustainable practices. Consumer fashion choices have a big impact on women, with women comprising 80% of the global workforce in the garment industry. Read More >>

Bruno Van Tuykom and Amy Fan, cofounders of Twentyeight Health, smiling and posing on a city street in front of a red brick buildingExpanding Reproductive Health Care Access for Women in Underserved Communities

In its newest investment, the Penn Medicine – Wharton Fund for Health is now backing Twentyeight Health, an online platform and telemedicine service designed to expand reproductive health care access for women from underserved communities. They facilitate prescription and delivery of medicine ranging from birth control to prenatal vitamins or, now, even COVID-19 testing kits. Read More >>

In Conversation with Industry Leaders

Podcast image with a dark blue background that reads "Dollars and Change a podcast by the Wharton ESG Initiative" next to an icon of a microphone

Gender Lens Investing Insights

Suzanne Biegel, Founder of Catalyst at Large

Investing Billions of Dollars in Women

Katie Kaufman, Managing Director for Global Women’s Issues at OPIC

Investing in Women of Color

Gayle Jennings O’Byrne and Pialy Aditya, General Partners of the WOCstar Fund

The Maternal Mortality Crisis in the U.S.

Melissa Hanna, Co-Founder and CEO of Mahmee

Why Financial Inclusion Matters for Women

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking

Lauren and Bobby Turner Executive Speaker Series

In 2022, social impact entrepreneurs Bobby Turner W’84, CEO of Turner Impact Capital, and Gregg Renfrew, Founder and former Executive Chair of Beautycounter, sat down for a fireside chat. They spoke about entrepreneurship, the female founder experience, navigating movements, and more. 

This speaker series inspires the Penn community with leaders who are “doing well and doing good.” Speakers include celebrities and leaders who are using their resources and influence, as well as their creativity and passion, to impact critical social issues.

Educating and Empowering Women

How This Alumna Is Driving $1 Billion to Women of Color Tech Entrepreneurs

Only a tiny percentage of venture capital dollars are going to startups founded by women or women of color. Alumna social entrepreneur Gayle Jennings-O’Byrne is changing the market for women entrepreneurs of color and it is her hope that Wharton and Penn students will help lead the way.

Gayle Jennings O'Byrne smiles and looks into distance in black top in front of a city scape with red brick buildingsAs Nazarian Social Innovator in Residence, she facilitated meaningful conversations around changing the landscape of the venture capital market.

Sophia Chang smiles in a white top and black jacket on a street with grass and houses in the background

What I Learned About Impact Investing for the Social Determinants of Health

Sophia Chang, W’24, C’24, reflects on her internship with the Penn Medicine – Wharton Fund for Health and how this experience can make a meaningful impact in Philadelphia. Through the Fund for Health’s focus on addressing healthcare inequities, she was able to work alongside a dedicated team that is passionate about making a positive change in our local community.  Read More >>

Media Sharma smiles in a bright pink dress and white coat with a stethoscope draped over her shoulders outside in front of grass and trees

Finding and Investing in Companies that Make a Difference

After coming to Wharton, medical student Medha Sharma, PSOM’24, realized that there are various avenues to support and improve the health of communities other than working in clinics or performing biomedical research. She joined the Penn Medicine – Wharton Fund for Health to strengthen the social determinants of health for economically disadvantaged Philadelphia residents. From finding the real need to sourcing creatively, she shares her methodology for finding and investing in companies that make a difference. Read More >>