Gender inequality in the workplace has been a topic of conversation for decades – since World War II when women entered the workforce to support their families and keep the economy going. Think of the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter. Much has changed since then, with some occupations “switching genders” and the gender pay gap closing (in some industries, faster than others.)
In recent history, the #TimesUp movement has drawn attention to gender inequality in the workplace and shows its support for “safe, fair and dignified work” for women in the workforce.
Women in business know the effect they have on the workplace – and studies have shown the benefits companies can realize by increasing women in the workplace.
Here are the hard facts:
Increased Gender Diversity In Leadership
According to the “UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders,” companies in the study with women at the helm had on average 38 percent more women leaders (excluding the CEO) than those with men at the helm. A female CEO can help shatter the glass ceiling. Positions of leadership not only seem accessible for women in the company with a female CEO but the mentorship women at the top provide for those coming up the ranks helps them actually make it there.
Increased Return On Assets (ROA) And Return On Equity (ROE)
The UC Davis study ranks the top 25 California companies with the highest percentage of women leaders. These top 25 have a median ROA and ROE of 4.4% and 12.2%, respectively. This is at least 74% higher than for the entire sample of 400 companies. While no formal, casual relationship is indicated, the data is pretty telling.
Other studies support similar notions that more women at work mean better financial performance. Trading firm Quantopian compared the returns of Fortune 1000 companies led by female CEOs to those of the S&P 500. From 2002 to 2014, companies with women running the show realized returns that were 226% higher.
A study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership, “What Women Want – And Why You Want Women – In the Workplace,” found that more women in the workplace meant higher job satisfaction, higher organizational dedication, more meaningful work and less burnout. Additionally, employees cited staying with their organization (those with a higher percentage of women at work) due to enjoyable work, a job that fits well with other areas of their life and opportunities to make a difference.
Increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
A study conducted by the World Economic Forum found that closing the gender gap could increase GDP by an average of 35%. While 80% of this effect comes from adding workers to the labor force, 20% is directly due to increased productivity from gender diversity. Research found in situations with a narrowing gender gap, the contribution to growth from improved efficiency is overstated.
And a higher GDP can have a major impact on your company. It means a larger overall economy, increased spending and a better chance of your company reaping the rewards of those financial gains. It leads to fiscal stabilization and higher living standards for citizens (i.e., your employees).