Even though the percentage of women in the talent pipeline has steadily increased over the last 3 decades, there are still large gender gaps from entry-level right through to top-executive positions. In tech, women hold only 30% of the entry-level roles and only approximately 7% of private tech company boards are made up of women.
Here at theBoardlist, we’re already true believers in increasing gender diversity at work — in honor of Labor Day, we pulled together 5 reasons why having women in leadership roles benefits your entire company.
1. More women = better problem-solving
Time and time again, researchers find that diversity of thought leads to better problem solving — when we collaborate with people of different genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities and race in our workplace, we all do better work.
The Global Leadership Forecast 2014–2015 concluded that “gender diversity in your leadership pool means greater diversity of thought, which, in turn, leads to improved problem solving and greater business benefits.” In the same study, when researchers asked leaders what would help increase their effectiveness, they answered “my organization needs to start creating more transparency, more attention to promoting women in leadership roles, and an atmosphere in which everyone has a chance to be a leader.”
By hiring and promoting women from different backgrounds into your company, it provides an outstanding base from which to build upon.
2. Female leaders are trusted
More American workers perceive female executives as being honest and ethical than they do male executives. Pew’s “Women and Leadership” surveyed Americans in 2015 and found that 34% say women are better at this, while only 3% say men are better at it (64% say there’s no difference).
While it’s unclear whether this means women are actually more honest, it’s a good reminder of how morally gray some business decisions can be. Leaders are often tasked with choosing between options that aren’t black and white, ethically speaking, and the capacity to lead honestly is important to the entire company’s success and job satisfaction.
3. Women leaders are more collaborative
Last year, researchers found that women are better at making deals in the Senate than their male peers — collaborating and working across party lines in greater numbers than the men. “Over the past seven years, the Quorum analysis found, the average female senator co-sponsored 6.29 bills with another Senate woman, while the average male senator co-sponsored 4.07 bills with another Senate man” and that “the average female senator co-sponsored 171.08 bills with a member of the opposite party; for the average male senator, that figure was 129.87.” What can work in the Senate can work in the boardroom.
4. Women make terrific mentors
While studies have shown women have a more difficult time finding mentors than men, 30% of those surveyed by Pew Research felt women made better mentors than men — while only 5% felt men were better mentors than women. Mentorship and sponsorship can be incredibly important for career growth and job satisfaction, so having increased supply “on the bench” in your company can give your employees an edge.
“There is nothing like a great mentor — someone who can guide you and provide honest, real-time, practical advice,” says Jackie Stone, CMO of MiMedia. “Mentors don’t judge your thoughts, ideas or dreams — they help you achieve them. My mentors have guided me to new opportunities and pushed me to take risks.” Want to be a better mentor? Open Forum has tips.
5. Millennial women are more educated than men
Today’s young women are starting their careers better educated than men. A more educated workforce is essential for implementing innovative techniques, challenging the status quo and introducing new business approaches. If women are more educated, women are critical tools to ignite the growth of a company.
Follow the Money
If these 5 reasons aren’t enough, think about this. A 2016 survey of 21,980 publicly traded companies in 91 countries concluded that “the presence of more female leaders in top positions of corporate management correlates with increased profitability of these companies” (source). This confirms what study after study for more than a decade have found — that having increased female leadership on your team or board leads to increased financial results. If that doesn’t convince you, what will?
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