OPINION: The business case for diversity is just offensive
The business case for diversity is not the secret sauce
I am constantly seeing and hearing the proponents of gender balance, both men and women, telling us that there is a business case for diversity. Shareholder value increases with gender balanced boards and companies, and other diversity measures.
In research from the Center for Talent Innovation, shared by the FT it was noted that "publicly traded companies with two-dimensional diversity were 45 per cent more likely than those without to have expanded market share in the past year and 70 per cent more likely to have captured a new market."
A recent study by McKinsey tells us that bridging gender gaps would make the world richer and add $28.4 trillion to the global economy.
Put more succinctly in every day language, to understand correctly, if a company simply respects individual rights and equal opportunity, it will be more profitable. Shareholders will make more money. It is an initiative propelled by financial gain. Women in particular jump with glee as if they have found the secret sauce for success. "We can make you more money"
[Tweet "It is that basic. And nothing short of offensive."]
Does this then suggest that those organisations operating without diversity policies have not been optimally run? What does this say about our current Captains of Industry? If the numbers argument wasn't as persuasive, with no bottom line impact, would that mean that diversity initiatives would not be pursued?
To advocate for a business case for diversity runs rough shod over the notion of human rights. Advocating for equal opportunity should have a moral basis, not a business one. It is simply the right and fair thing to do. It should have nothing to do with the bottom line or annual report numbers. It should be rooted in our values.
The only time it can be less offensive if women would benefit from this notional $24.8 trillion in the global economy. We all know that even in developed economies the gender wage gap sticks at 20%.
The move for gender balance is not shifting at a rate that is going to achieve anything significant within the next decade if left to its own devices. Research from the E.U. tells us that organic change will only occur by 2080, by which time even Gen Y will be in old people's homes or pushing up the daisies. There is no reason why 50% of the population, now the most highly qualified demographic, should be excluded from senior roles by out dated thinking and practises from previous centuries. Nor should the other 50% be denied the opportunity to have a meaningful family life and raise their children to make strong contributions to future societies.
And this is what we are talking about.
The future of work is the new buzz phrase, with moves for agile and lean organisational structures. During this process of evaluation, companies should factor in creating structures and employment practises that work better for both men and women, not because there is a business case for diversity, but because the skills of women are valued by society. [Tweet "The business case for diversity should be a bonus."]
[Tweet "It's also just common sense to protect our futures ."]
Business as usual
We could of course carry on as we are in male dominated business cultures. But as we have seen with scandals in the last two weeks alone, with Volkswagen falsifying emissions results and the global corruption within FIFA, how well a lack of gender balance works. Not to mention the financial crisis of 2007. In all these cases women are only obvious by their absence.
The idea of a business case for diversity is not just offensive. It should be stopped.
3Plus is launching an opinion page. Do you have an opinion that is slightly controversial you feel strongly about? If so send it in and we can publish it under your own name, or as a guest contributor. Contact us with your out of the ordinary thoughts!
Margery is a Finance Director at an engineering company in Birmingham U.K.
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
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
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
LinkedIn lists almost 400 executive resume writers. Who’s top-rated? Who’s the best? Find and evaluate the best executive resume writer for you.read more
Relationship fluency is an aspect of life that most of us think is important at home. But as our workplaces are built on relationships, maybe we should consider relationship fluency in all parts of life. Esther Perel explains why.read more
World Menopause Day is about reducing the stigma around the menopause. It affects 50% of the world and as such it should be something that is dealt with clearly and openly in the workplace. So why is it still a taboo?read more