I am a feminist. That’s right... I’ll say it again loud and clear, FEMINIST. And no, this does not mean I burn bras or hate men. I’m actually happily married and like to coordinate my bra with my outfit even if no one else can see it. I am a feminist because I don’t think the social expectations of women and men reflect the reality we live in today. I believe that it is a society’s responsibility (that means each individual, not just government and companies) to effect progress by proactively changing the mechanisms and policies that perpetuate a lack of choice. In my opinion that’s what feminism (and inclusiveness in general) is all about – having a choice.
So today I’d like to share some news on a subject that’s in the press a lot and the main precept behind Womenalia – having the tools to choose your professional story and define success how you want to define it. Here at Womenalia we’ve made it our mission to help each woman achieve her individual career goals in an efficient and effective way by harnessing the power of technology and social media. And while we’re still in early days yet (and working very hard to realize that promise) our work is based on the fact that more diverse companies and more women on leadership teams are not just good for women but also good for business. Not convinced that diversity is important and that senior management should make it a priority? Well the Anita Borg Institute has released a report entitled The Case of Investing in Women that provides quantifiable data showing that companies with more female representation perform better than their male-dominated counterparts. Here are some of the highlights from the report:
- An increase in women means an increase in ROI. Fortune 500 companies with at least three female directors show an increase of 66% in return on invested capital, an increase return on sales of 42%, and an increase of return on equity of at least 53%.
- Diversity and inclusiveness mean stronger economic performance. In a study by Dezsö and Ross of 1,500 U.S. ﬁrms in the S&P, showed firms that promote women to senior management positions enjoy superior economic performance, especially companies that are focused on innovation. • Gender diversity means better returns for Shareholders. A Catalyst study shows a link between gender diversity in senior management and company ﬁnancial performance in Fortune 500 companies, and found that women in leadership roles increased Return on Equity (ROE) by 35% and Total Return to Shareholders (TRS) by 34%.
- Diversity leads to innovation. The London Business School surveyed more than 850 individuals from over 100 teams across an array of industries in 17 countries to study the eﬀect of women on knowledge transfer, experimentation, and task performance. The study showed that factors such as psychological safety, team self-confidence, team experimentation and team efficiency are all optimal when teams are composed of at least 50% women.
- Mixed-gender teams author more cited tech patents. In 2012, a NCWIT analysis of women’s participation in IT patents found that U.S. patents produced by mixed-gender teams were cited 26% to 42% more frequently than the average citation rates.
- To boost problem-solving and creativity, make sure teams contain women. A study from Professor Anita Woolley, an economist at Carnegie Mellon, showed that groups with at least one female member outperformed all-male groups in collective IQ tests.
- Hire more women to retain and attract the best talent. According to Cumulative Gallup Workplace Studies, companies with inclusive cultures (including gender diversity) retain their employees better, boasting a 22% lower turnover rate. Diverse and inclusive companies also have an easier time hiring talent.
So if your senior leadership isn’t taking the matter seriously, there are plenty more numbers where these ones came from in the full report available online. Now you’ve got data to back up your arguments, so what will you do with it?