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.
Suzanne Biegel, W’84
Catalyst at Large Ltd
Sandi M. Hunt
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.
How 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 >>
Expanding 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
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.
As Nazarian Social Innovator in Residence, she facilitated meaningful conversations around changing the landscape of the venture capital market.
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 >>
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 >>