Women matter: Why gender balance is smart
Women matter. Women in leadership matter. Women in leadership make companies better. And it isn't that hard to get more women into leadership positions.
These statements convey the core message of four reports, all called Women matter, that were produced by McKinsey & co. between 2007 and 2010. These reports have become extremely influential, providing basic research for pushing the discussion about gender balance forward. The research results in Woman matter help us argue that creating the circumstances for women to advance is not just right, it's also smart.
Over the past few weeks, I've written one entry each on about the four Women matter reports. An even briefer synopsis is given here, with links to the blog entries, which in turn lead you to the original reports.
The first report, Gender diversity: a corporate performance driver, looks for a correlation between the organizational excellence a company achieves and the percentage of women on its leadership team. And it finds that correlation: a gender balanced leadership team enhances organizational excellence, which in turn enhances profitability.
The correlation is studied more carefully in the second report, Female leadership: a competitive edge for the future. Why would it be the case that the presence of more women in a leadership team gives better results? Maybe it doesn't. Maybe the correlation suggests a different causality, going the other direction: companies that perform well can afford to invest in gender balance, and therefore have the luxury of doing what is right, even if it isn't necessarily smart.
But, fear not. Women matter 2 studies different types of leadership behaviors and establishes that women and men use different behaviors to different degrees. These different behaviors correlate with success factors, such that more success factors are achieved when the leadership collectively has a wider variety of behaviors. In other words, it is women in leadership that enhance profitability, not the other way around.
Women leaders: a competitive edge in and after the crisis looks at the kinds of actions that are taken by companies to enhance gender diversity. 13 different initiatives are identified. Several hundred companies are then surveyed and asked two questions. Which of these initiatives do you practice? Is gender diversity a strategic goal for your company?
The initiatives and the results of the survey are presented in this third report. We learn -- not surprisingly -- that companies which strategically prioritize gender diversity work implement more initiatives than those that don't. And we also learn which of the initiatives they implement.
Finally, in Women at the top of corporations: making it happen, the 13 initiatives are studied for their effectiveness. This report identifies which of the initiatives correlate with a high number of women in leadership positions in a company. The single most important factor correlating with higher percentages of women in company leadership is the engagement of the CEO. Throughout all four of the Women matter reports, in fact, it becomes clear that without engagement at the top, results are going to be limited.
Initiatives that work
Nearly half of the initiatives are shown to be ineffective in increasing the number of women in leadership, as I discuss on my blog. This is important information because all of the initiatives seem reasonable and important. Here we learn which ones actually work.
If we are going to push organizations to step up their work on gender balance and to create fair workplaces for men and women, we must develop good arguments that this work is good for companies. The Women matter reports are a major contribution to this work; they raise questions for more research, and they inspire us to engage and convince those who lead our organizations.
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
What’s your least favourite resume word or phrase? Donna Svei asked this question on LinkedIn last week and got an earful of good advice!read more
Do you have a diversity recruitment strategy? You can’t broaden the scope of your talent pipeline without having a well thought out diversity recruitment strategyread more
5 reasons your executive job search is tanking. Executive job search can be a lengthy process so it’s a good idea to get support to avoid making some basic mistakes.read more