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How the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund is investing in women

8 March 2024

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2024, staff at the UN Pension Fund celebrate and reflect on the urgent actions that need to be taken to invest in women and accelerate progress. Gender equality and women’s well-being across all aspects of life are a priority at the Fund, as evidenced by the Fund’s leadership.

“The Fund has been investing in women. Both our client services and recruiting practices are gender sensitive. For example, we are actively working towards identifying our women beneficiaries’ needs, and attaining gender parity in the recruitment of our staff”, said Rosemarie McClean, Chief Executive of Pension Administration.

Today and always, we are proud to celebrate women’s key contribution to the work of the United Nations and our other member organizations.

We are committed to gender equality, and we are pushing for it in the companies we invest in, through engagement as a shareholder” Pedro Guazo, Representative of the Secretary-General for the Assets of the UN Pension Fund, underlines. In the direct equity portfolio, the percentage of women on the board of the companies in which the Fund invests has increased by over seven points between 2019 and 2023 (from 25.4 per cent to 32.7 per cent).

Read along to find out how the UN Pension Fund is investing in women across all areas.

Closing the gender digital gap: Our Digital Certificate of Entitlement (DCE) app can verify and guarantee the identity of retirees/beneficiaries as well as their location via biometrics, avoiding additional paperwork. While optional, this online solution has already been adopted by close to 40 percent of the beneficiaries’ population. Women’s enrollment in the app has been on a constant increase, from 43 percent in 2021 to over 48 percent of users of the tool being women as of February 2024.

Towards gender parity in recruitment: The UNJSPF has taken decisive steps to achieve gender parity in our recruitment, and to welcome and develop both female and male talent from a broad range of professional and geographical areas. As of 31 December 2023, 53 percent of the Fund’s workforce is composed of women.

Gender-response financing: The Fund believes high quality corporate boards should be comprised of independent and diverse directors that have the appropriate balance of skills, expertise and tenure. The Fund may vote against or withhold vote for a director if the nominee directors are incumbent members of the nominating committee and there is not at least one woman on the board.

Investing responsibly: The Fund isinvesting in the wider investment markets – for which we are doing it responsibly. We consider gender diversity as an important factor in making investment decisions. Studies have shown that investing with a gender lens can potentially enhance a better return. Achieving gender balance across all levels of an organization leads to a broader range of perspectives, better decision-making and improved financial outcomes. Investing in organizations with gender balance will lead to a better return.

Meeting the long-term financial needs of women: Given that on average women are living longer than men, and as a result our older client base is skewed towards women, the Fund is committed to the long-term financial needs of former staff and their families.

Enhancing women’s representation in leadership: Having more female leaders has a positive impact and diverse perspective in the Fund's decision-making process as a whole. They can serve as role models and inspire other women to pursue leadership roles themselves. The Fund has women represented at the highest levels through the Chief Executive of Pension Administration and with 48 percent of P-5 posts being held by women. Women are currently 38 percent of the Pension Board members, alternate members and representatives, while 50 percent of the Investment Committee members are women.

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