The business case for gender diversity in leadership is compelling. I’ve updated it to include (more) recent studies linking diversity and financial performance.
The bronze statue of a young girl facing the Wall Street Bull will continue to provoke big firms to include more women on boards. It isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.
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.
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.
One pillar of the business case for gender diversity in business leadership is its correlation with better financial results. Studies by Catalyst and McKinsey show strong correlations between gender diversity in senior leadership and on boards — and improved financial metrics. There are contrary studies related to board composition – showing no correlation or negative correlation. I hope researchers will help us sort through the differences. Meanwhile, I’ll say, ““Solid research by highly respected organizations, disputed by some, shows a correlation between gender diversity and results.”