Leadership Giving: Highlighting the Success of Women Leaders

The last couple of posts have had a focus on men and the difficulties they are supposedly facing. Let’s turn that around and focus on the success of women as leaders who stand up to their difficulties and manage to break out of the constraints they face and achieve some significant accomplishments. The first two below do just that.

Hypatia was the first great woman in science. (Image credit: Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution The Cosmic Companion)

One: Hypatia Capital 

On the face of it, Hypatia Capital is an investment firm. However, the first two sentences of the mission statement very clearly indicate it is much more than that. It is an idea supported by concrete proof. Hypatia has created an ETF called WCEO. As the mission statement says:

“Hypatia Capital is an asset management firm focused on sponsoring female CEOs and investors.  Our network of CEO-Level women, asset managers, and public board member network is our collaborative platform.

The Hypatia Women CEO Index (HWCEO) is designed to measure the performance of female leadership in publicly traded companies.”

WCEO was launched in January 2023. When launched, WCEO was given a negative rating by Morningstar, which is one of the primary rating companies that assess the performance of mutual funds and ETFs. While “past performance is no guarantee of future results”, companies like Morningstar base their assessment on past performance. Virtually all new ETFs are given a negative rating at their inception. A negative rating is an indication that investors should be especially wary of purchasing the ETF.

Now, about six months since its inception, WCEO has been upgraded by Morningstar. The rating has been changed from negative to neutral. A neutral rating is just that, neither negative or positive. A rating is upgraded when past performance indicates that the ETF is outperforming expectations and/or the market. WCEO has outperformed the Wilshire Small Cap Index.

There are two additional factors Morningstar used to upgrade WCEO.

1. Price: WCEO has fees in the second best quintile in the Morningstar US Equity Small Cap category, with 596 funds and as of June 23rd, 2023. At least 60% of competitors are more expensive that the WCEO.

2. ESG Risk: 5 Globes for WCEO, the highest Morningstar Sustainability rating possible! WCEO holds securities with low exposure to ESG risk relative to those of its peers in the Morningstar US Equity Small Cap category. As of June 23rd, 2023. More information on the Morningstar Sustainability Rating can be found here.


The purpose of this post is to provide public facts about the WCEO ETF. It is not investment advice and it is not a recommendation to purchase this or any ETF. Investment decisions should be based on careful research by the investor and/or consultation with a registered investment consultant. As with any ETF, there are a variety of risks the investor must accept and it must be understood that the investment can lose money. For a more complete understanding of the WCEO ETF, please read the prospectus before any decision to invest is made. The prospectus is available at the company website. 

The website for Hypatia Capital and the WCEO ETF can be found here:

As an aside, Hypatia was the name of a noted woman philosopher in Alexandria, Egypt in the early part of the Fifth Century CE. She defied societal norms and became a teacher to the sons of leading (male) citizens of Alexandria. There is an interesting movie about her called Agora.

Two: Using the Gender Lens to Make Better Decisions on Climate Change

Climate change has led to an increased number of natural disasters and environmental disruptions. Women and girls are one of the first groups to be affected by declining living conditions and a loss of human rights. Women and girls face growing challenges to access resources and find protection from the consequences of a warming planet.

In response, the Gender in Geopolitics Institute advocates for a feminist, sustainable approach to international climate action cooperation. Integrating women and girls into the international struggle against climate is necessary to achieve sustainable development, as they are more exposed to climate hazards, and already ingrained gender-based discrimination and violence.

 Gender in Geopolitics has published a policy brief to promote the voice of women within the society and to feminize international decision-making. Included in the brief are topics such as:

  • the gendered implications of environmental issues,
  • women’s leadership in civil society movements,
  • women’s representation in environmental public governance, 
  • the ecofeminist approach and youth movements in environmental struggles.

The entire brief is available at the link below.

The next two posts highlight the drive to promote and acknowledge the role of women in the hierarchy of both religion and science. Having women in leadership positions is an effective method of ensuring that the message of a church fosters love and inclusion rather than traditional patriarchal values. Recognizing and celebrating the role of women, especially Black women, in STEM fields helps break down gender-driven stereotypes about women.

Three: Women Baptist Ministers Create Program for a Greater Voice in Leadership 

Baptist Women in Ministry and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship have unveiled a new curriculum to provide congregations with a biblical foundation for embracing and celebrating women in church leadership. For centuries the Bible has been used as an instrument for the oppression of women. BWIM/CFB seek to demonstrate how this use is misguided and wrong. Using biblical texts provides recourse to the only authority most churches recognize.

The curriculum seeks to challenge Baptist leadership whose claims to support the full involvement of women often do not match actual Baptist practice. Many women ministers feel that the hierarchy does not fully support them. Since religious training provides the moral basis for raising children in many families, ensuring a leading role for women can help shape a message of inclusivity and acceptance.

Meredith Stone, Executive director of BWIM and Brian Foreman, CBF coordinator of congregational ministries, unveiled Equally Called, a four-part video and curriculum series that blends scriptural study with the experiences of current women in ministry to guide congregations to create a more balanced role for women.  Baptist women in ministry continue to feel blocked, slighted and ignored in their callings because they are women — even in churches that profess an openness to their leadership. 

For the full article, follow the link below.


Four: Recognition of Black Women in Physics & Astronomy

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is the first Black woman to receive a PhD in either theoretical cosmology or particle physics theory. While justifiably proud of her accomplishment, she still experienced mixed emotions. “I should have been the 150th,” she says. “Not the first.”

Efforts to increase the participation of women and girls in STEM careers has been ongoing and has produced optimistic results. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein wants to celebrate that progress by creating a free database listing every paper ever published by Black women or gender minorities with physics or astronomy PHDs in the United States. The Cite Black Women+ In Physics and Astronomy Bibliography is intended to “change the narrative of whose work gets recognized”.  

Increasing participation of women and girls in STEM subjects like physics and astronomy is a huge step forward. However, it is equally important to ensure that their contributions are recognized. The database is designed to help improve this recognition. One major criterion for career success in academia is to count the number of times a person’s work is cited by other peers. In turn this affects who gets hired, who is chosen for fellowships, and who receives research grants.

The database can also be used as a resource for hiring committees that seek to diversify their departments as well as encourage the next generation of Black or women students. After all, the best way to increase leadership roles for women is to recruit from within. 

Full article on Chanda Prescod-Weinstein:


Five: Melinda Gates Reminds Us that More Women are Needed in Elected Office 

To be blunt, if we want to increase the overall influence of women and girls in society, the quality of leadership at all levels is the key to change and progress. The problem is easily stated: 

We still live in a country where decisions are made for women instead of by them.

So says Melinda Gates French in a recent article from Time Magazine, published June 23, 2023. It echoes a sentiment she expressed a year prior, in June of 2022, written in response to the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade

In the recent article Melinda French forcefully explains the need for action. In the House of Representatives, there are more men named “Mike” than there are women who are the chair of a congressional committee. She explains why this is such a disaster for the country as a whole:

…While no one would claim that women are a monolith who support any one party or agenda, there is evidence that women govern differently, working more collaboratively across party lines and introducing legislation on issues that have historically gone unaddressed. That’s why I’m convinced that having more women at all levels of government will make government work better.

Change, of course, is difficult. But difficult problems are best solved by breaking them into smaller components that are more amenable to solution. One strategy that Melinda French and her team at Pivotal Ventures is adopting is to focus on state legislatures.    

…It’s not just that there are so many seats at the state level—more than 7000 of them—setting a broad stage for transformative progress. It’s also that state legislatures are powerhouses of American policymaking. They control $2 trillion per year in spending and write the laws that govern people’s day-to-day lives on issues ranging from voting to reproductive rights to schools.

Link:  https://www.pivotalventures.org/articles/women-in-politics

In addition, given the closer proximity of the state capital to where most voters live, campaigns can be run in a more intimate setting. Then, when the election is over, state legislatures can be more amenable to lobbying, or are at least more accessible to most voters. 

Perhaps most importantly, however, is that state office can then be used as a springboard for national office. Over half the women in Congress first served in their state legislature.

And there is reason for optimism. The number of women serving in Congress is at a record high level. The election last fall set new records for the number of women governors and state legislators.

As of this writing, unfortunately, there is no additional information available describing funding levels or commitments. 

Link for most recent Time article, 2023:


Link to previous Time article, 2022:



Not Enough! Giving for Gender Equality Totals $6.3 Billion in U.S.

What’s New for Feminist Giving in February 2023

New Research from WPI Highlights Race and Gender Variables in Giving

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