By Catherine Lang-Cline
International Women’s Day is this Sunday, March 8, and the one thing we can all think about as business owners of any gender is that equality is not just a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. And it is great news to share this month!
A new Harvard Business Review study, just in time for International Women’s Day, “When Gender Diversity Makes Firms More Productive” reports how gender equity is tied to business productivity and growth. The study looked at 1,069 leading firms across 24 industries in 35 countries and found that regardless of industry, firms that prioritize gender equity are more productive than companies that don’t. Why is that? Here are a few highlights of the study:
Diversity attracts top talent. Gender diversity is important to job seekers, particularly top female candidates. Recent surveys show that 67% of employees in the US and Western Europe prefer diverse work environments and 61% of women look at the gender diversity of a company’s leadership team when deciding where to work. Smart, talented people go to companies that are diverse and you want to get them before your competitor does.
Investors favor diverse companies. The study includes research that shows that gender diversity tells investors that a company is well-run and competent. Additionally, investors love businesses that follow best practices such as diverse hiring. It makes you look good and it makes them look good, too.
How will this specifically benefit your business?:
Men and women have different viewpoints and ideas, which makes for better problem solving, and that leads to better-performing companies. If everyone has all the same ideas and approaches, how do you grow? Diversify!
A gender-diverse workforce provides better access to resources, like sources of credit, information sources, and a wider knowledge of the industry you are in.
A gender-diverse workforce allows your company to serve a wider, more diverse customer base. People like buying from businesses that understand them. Communication is key.
Women make up 50% of the potential workforce and that is a lot of talent available to you. Take a look around your office, take a look at your board. Is everyone represented? Do you have unconscious bias? This month and every month we need to break down barriers and celebrate the achievements of women. Maybe get more of them on your payroll? The collaboration is a proven game-changer.
You can find more information about International Women’s Day here!