Do you hear that? It’s the sound of cracking glass.

2012 marked a good year for women. Over in the Senate, we now have a record 20 female senators, out of 100. And in the list of Fortune 500 companies, there are a record 19 women.

OK, so the fact that 3.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs, and 5% of the Fortune 1,000 (5.2% if you include two CEOs starting in 2013) are females doesn’t speak much to a complete closure of the gender gap. That’s why we send cracking, not shattering glass.

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Looking at this data, two questions might come to mind (well, there are a lot more, but we’ll stick to these two for now):

  • Do female CEOs perform any better or worse, on average, than male CEOs?
  • Can I do anything to support female CEOs?

Now a new stock index could answer both those questions. The startup Motif Investing, a company that creates themed collections of stocks that people can invest in for a low fee, has created a “motif” called No Glass Ceilings that tracks companies who’ve had a female CEO for more than a year. (The year limit means it doesn’t yet include Yahoo!, which is headed up by Marissa Mayer.)

As we explained in our complete story on Motif Investing, the company has other timely themes such as Rebuilding After Sandy, and cheeky ones like Too Big to Fail.

So now you could invest a chunk of your money exclusively in companies run by female CEOs as a measure of your support–sort of like a gender equality-flavored socially responsible investing. The index also lets you track how those female-led corporations are doing compared to the market at large. So far in 2012, Motif Investing says that the S&P 500 and the No Glass Ceiling motif have almost equal returns at about 15%. Take a look for yourself at the index’s performance.

We’ll be looking forward to the day when this index seems like a moot point.

Image credit: Flickr/World Economic Forum