WOMEN MATTER (DUH)
As you saw in the previous chapter, having women in the workplace is good for the economy. It’s also good for individual businesses. In case you haven’t seen this data before, here’s an overview:
• Companies with a gender-diverse board perform significantly better than their competition.
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A report by PwC states that “Studies suggest that companies with a gender-diverse board perform significantly better than their competition. This includes a 42 percent higher return in sales, 66 percent greater return on invested capital, and 53 percent higher return on equity.”194
• When senior management is more gender diverse, companies perform better on a number of key financial indicators. A study by McKinsey showed that companies with more gender diverse senior management teams had a 10 percent higher return on equity, a 1.7 times higher stock price, and a 48 percent stronger operating performance (EBIT).195
• When companies have more gender diverse workforces, they are more financially successful. A McKinsey study of 366 public companies across a range of industries in Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and the United States revealed 15 percent financial returns.196
• Gender diversity leads to better innovation. A study of more than 4,000 research and development teams found that gender diversity “generates dynamics that lend themselves to radical innovation, which causes a paradigm shift by the introduction of new features, resulting in the emergence of completely new markets.”197
In other words, women are good for the bottom line.
Did you know that women account for seven tenths of global consumer spending and are responsible for over 80 percent of purchasing decisions in the United States?198 Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, believes women are “the ultimate agents of aggregate demand.” Why? Because companies that design and market their goods and services in ways that appeal to women are likely to sell more effectively, and companies that have women on their leadership teams and in their product development groups are more likely to understand the female consumer.
If we want healthy and vibrant companies and a healthy and vibrant economy, we need to get women to work. But we also have to get women to stay at work, and to do that we have to recognize that the vast majority will become mothers. It’s time for companies to realize parenthood is a fact of doing business. Sadly, when it comes to supporting working parents, many companies are falling even further behind than they were less than a decade ago.