As SVP, Professional Services at BairesDevDamian oversees the entire customer relationship lifecycle, protecting the company’s operations.
“In a normal world, we wouldn’t really be asking about the ‘business case’ for women in leadership,” writes Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic in one. Forbes article. “After all, one would expect any just, moral, and highly functional nation to have little reason to exclude half of its citizens from being fully active members of society or to limit economic opportunity to only 50% of population.”
And yet, despite research establishing clear benefits for gender equality in business, women are vastly underrepresented in most sectors, including those like technology – my industry – that depend on innovation and diversity of thought and background.
There has been much discussion about the advantages of bringing more women to the top of the corporate ladder and involving them at every level of the business pipeline – at least, the advantages related to women themselves. But it’s not just about helping women have engaging, rewarding careers. There is also a clear business case for making our organizations more gender inclusive and equitable.
While we have made some progress on gender equality, this progress slowed during the Covid-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affected women. And there are still far more men than women in leadership positions across a wide range of industries.
Interestingly, since 1991, women have filled managerial roles at a faster rate than men, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). At the same time, men still outnumber women in these positions. Furthermore, the ILO reports that while nearly 75% of businesses worldwide have equal opportunity or diversity and inclusion policies, these policies alone are not enough to make a meaningful difference in helping women succeed.
What is the business case for gender equality? There are many reasons why this leads to better organization.
It increases productivity and work ethic.
People simply work better when they are part of different businesses. This is not guesswork; According to the World Bank, productivity per worker can increase by up to 40% when a company eliminates discrimination against female employees.
It promotes innovation.
Businesses of all kinds depend on innovation. Inevitably, when you include gender diversity, you gain access to different perspectives and ideas. Research shows that having more women on boards of directors provides more opportunities to use a range of skills. Of course, diverse team members, in general, contribute to a greater output of ideas, leading to a stronger culture of creativity and innovation.
This allows for more leverage.
Bringing more women into businesses increases profitability – up to 63%, the ILO study cited earlier shows.
Meanwhile, companies with the highest percentage of women on executive committees delivered a 47% higher rate of return on equity than those without female executives.
Contributes to a better brand and image.
As you can imagine, all these efforts mean a stronger brand and a more compelling image. You want to be part of a company that cares about its people and believes in diversity, and by including more female team members and leaders, you’re demonstrating a commitment to building an inclusive business.
In fact, a study by Morgan Stanley found that 66% of high net worth investors say it is important for them to invest in companies that hire and promote employees from diverse backgrounds.
We must build better businesses through gender equality.
The business case for gender equality is clear. Not only do these factors play an important role, but gender diversity also contributes to stronger morale, better employee satisfaction, improved reputation and increased teamwork.
Understanding the reasons why you need to promote gender equality is the first step. The next step is to put in place the practices that will move the needle. This is a long process, but some ideas to get you started include:
• Creating a more inclusive hiring process.
• Providing support and mentoring to female team members.
• Conducting salary audits to assess gender pay gaps and correct any gaps you discover.
• Paying attention to the composition of the leadership.
We can have a more gender-equal future – but we must fully commit to improvement.
The Forbes Business Council is the premier growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?