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New York Pension Fund Promises To Obstruct Business In The Name Of Gender Equality

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Gender_Equality (Shutterstock/Mego studio) Gender_Equality (Shutterstock/Mego studio) Photo of Robert Donachie

10:02 AM 03/20/2018

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One of the nation’s largest pension funds is pledging to block the re-elections of directors at potentially more than 400 U.S. businesses if the companies do not have a female member on the board.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund is reportedly going to announce the move Wednesday, marking the latest in a string of moves the fund has taken in order to promote gender parity at the top echelons of U.S. corporations, The Wall Street Journal reports. The fund currently holds shares in more than 400 U.S. business that do not have a female director, like Sonic Automatic, Seaboard and others.

New York state comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, who manages over $200 billion in assets for the fund, laid out plans at a mid-February conference for promoting more gender parity within the fund and for bolstering women-owned enterprises.

The fund has sponsored pushing gender equality since 2015, but has yet to roll out plans to continue the campaign in 2018.

Pension funds have come under scrutiny for either acting in the name of social causes or failing to act when called upon.

For example, Florida Teachers’ Pension Fund was found to have invested in the gun manufacturer that made the gun used by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz to murder 17 at a Florida high school in February. The fund took heat when it said its primary responsibility is to increase value for shareholders and that divesting in the gun manufacturer would not be against its fiduciary responsibility.

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