Why is it beneficial to have women on your team?
Last week. Jamie Davella, a graduate of our Full Time program, posted Susan Fowler’s blog post for discussion in Thinkful’s #womenintech channel. Her discussion on why diversity matters was so on point we thought’d we share (with permission from Jamie, of course):
davellaj Hey! I went to a Tech Ladies meetup in NYC tonight and almost every group I listened in on were talking about this blog post by an ex uber employee. After reading it, it was pretty shocking.
[other student] very interesting article.
[other student] Ha ha it’s already tough enough for women to get into tech…[we] also have to deal with the possibility of harassment :confused:
davellaj The leather jacket story made me laugh because it is ridiculous! The most concerning part for me was that the manager wanted to keep her on the team because it made him look good, since he would not be counted as one of the teams with a negative statistics where a woman left his team. I feel awkward being pointed out as the only girl on a team as my most noticeable quality, instead of my skills or contributions. With a large cultural push to include women, I think a lot of men don’t understand that there are benefits to having women on the team beyond meeting some diversity statistic, such as greater team performance etc,. It will take more conversations to get their mindset to change and overall respect us more as invaluable contributors.
[other student] can you please elaborate on your point ? How it is beneficial to have women on the team ?
davellaj thanks for your interest, it is an important question for understanding why you would want to push to have more women on your team and in leadership roles, and why it is important to ensure the work environment is a good one to keep women on your team. This is going to be a really long answer, but I hope you read the articles because it will make you a more badass team leader.
Financially, companies perform better when their work force has greater diversity.
- Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
McKinsey & Company: “Why diversity matters” New research makes it increasingly clear that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially. http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters
More in depth report here: https://www.msci.com/documents/10199/04b6f646-d638-4878-9c61-4eb91748a82b
Secondly, there are team benefits for having women on your team. The gender mix of a team may offer an assortment of knowledge and skills. Previous research has shown that mixed gender teams are more generous and egalitarian, and that teams with a larger percentage of women perform better by building meaningful relationships and creating successful work processes. Also, there are again financial incentives for your team. Teams with an equal gender mix perform better than male-dominated teams in terms of sales and profits.
- Teams with lower percentages of women have lower sales and lower profits than teams with a balanced gender mix.
- Profits increase as the share of women increases up to 50%. For higher shares of women, the relation between profits and the share of women is flat.
Harvard Gender Action Portal: “The Impact of Gender Diversity on the Performance of Business Teams: Evidence from a field Experiment” http://gap.hks.harvard.edu/impact-gender-diversity-performance-business-teams-evidence-field-experiment
Finally, in regards to women on company boards and in leadership and executive positions, this article looks at a Credit Suisse study that found a link between companies with more female executives and higher returns on equity, higher valuations, better stock performance and higher payouts of dividends. “There’s a very strong outperformance of companies that have women in management, particularly in operational roles,” said Stefano Natella, Credit Suisse’s global head of equity research.
Washington Post: More women at the top, higher returns: A comprehensive new study from Credit Suisse ties the prevalence of women in key jobs with better company performance. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2014/09/24/more-women-at-the-top-higher-returns/?utm_term=.5f72ee46bdef
so I think it goes without saying that management and team leaders find it in their best interest to have women on their teams, not just because of a statistic but because of real, tangible outcomes that come from diversity.
Men and Women bring different skills to the team. If we are out to dinner and the waiter says what would you like to eat, you say steak right away. A women will go through her head “well should I not have the garlic shrimp because I am on a date, it is weird to order a salad for dinner, steak sounds good but I have high cholesterol,” and then finally come to a decision. You made a very efficient decision, but you drop dead the next week from eating too much red meat. The woman made a more effective decision considering many different factors before making a decision. It is an amazing pair to have those two mindsets working together, even though it could be challenging at times it is worth it and should be considered invaluable to have diverse inputs. Of course I do not want to generalize, but I just want to point out that diversity brings differences in mindsets that help a team.
So, I’m done after this I promise, what you could do to make the workplace better for women is to champion inclusion on your team, seek out diverse opinions, respect and make an effort to listen to female input, give constructive feedback and encourage management to put women in leadership roles. I can often champion myself, but one of the more important requests I can make is that if there is water cooler talk by men at work talking about a woman in an inappropriate way such as, ‘she has nice legs,’ I know you want to bond with the guys, but be the guy that tells them to stop talking like that, because those men talking like that then have to go into the workplace and decide on promoting that woman… there is something going on mentally there that removes their respect for her.
[other student] The leather jacket/equality bit was definitely eye-roll worthy…
[other student] @davellaj Love this! Thanks so much for sharing =]
We feel the same. — Darrell