The business case for gender diversity in leadership is compelling. I’ve updated it to include (more) recent studies linking diversity and financial performance.
A study two years ago suggested that having women on a team stimulates better results. A more recent study says, “Not so fast.” It suggests a deeper factor — the balance of yin (feminine) and yang (masculine) strengths.
Happy holidays from DifferenceWORKS! In the news today is so much about division, hatred and violence – between whites and blacks, have’s and have-not’s, Republicans and Democrats, and people of different faiths or religious beliefs. Difference does work. Diversity and inclusion drive better decisions and better bottom lines. We need our differences. Wouldn’t it be nice to love them?
In many parts of the world, women’s voices are suppressed. In our western culture, in particular in the U.S. corporate world, women’s voices are not “suppressed.” But they are often not fully heard. Why not? Let me suggest four challenges, with the hope that awareness can help us better hear women’s voices right here in the USA. The feminine style of speech sounds less confident. Women assert themselves only when they really know. Women get “talked over.” And women who do speak up face the “double bind.”
I periodically update the research that forms the business case for gender balance at the leadership level. Here is my latest update. I review studies showing the business benefit of diversity and inclusion generally. Gender diversity brings all these benefits and more.
Everyone knows that having women on a company’s board of directors is good for the company’s bottom line. Research shows that a critical mass of THREE women results in better corporate governance. Less likely to feel like an outsider, a woman is more likely to speak up and be heard when she is one of three. Good decisions and good results follow from a balance of feminine and masculine strengths. Knowing this, leaders should not be satisfied with one (token) woman. Yet a new study shows that, at the executive level, most companies have just one woman. They have “checked the box.” With only one woman, they may miss out on the value of true gender diversity.