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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

The Cold, Hard Proof That More Women Means Better Business

Really, companies shouldn’t need any convincing about why they should hire more women onto their staffs. The gender gap in American leadership is abysmal, diversity breeds better ideas—you know all of this. But as you also know, executives like seeing the numbers when it comes to their business decisions.

Luckily, we’ve found the stats to prove once and for all why it’s really worth hiring more women.

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, a nonprofit that seeks to help women advance in the field of technology, recently published a new paper called The Case for Investing in Women detailing the huge difference that women make in the workforce, especially when they’re in leadership or senior roles.

What makes this paper so important compared to the piles of academic research done on the importance of women in the workforce? ABI’s paper is the first comprehensive paper that summarizes studies from across different academic disciplines, meaning that CEOs and other people in power don’t have to spend hours digging through thousands of pages of research to see the facts straight.

So, what are some of these mind-boggling findings from the report? Here are a few banner observations:

  • An economist from Carnegie Mellon found that teams that included at least one female member had a collectively higher IQ than teams that had just men.
  • When Fortune 500 companies had at least three female directors, several key factors increased: The return on invested capital jumped over 66%, return on sales went up 42%, and return on equity increased by 53%.
  • Gallup found that companies with more diversity on staff have a 22% lower turnover rate, and if an organization has a more inclusive culture that embraces women, it’s easier to recruit a more diverse staff.
  • A 2012 study on women’s participation in IT patents found that patents with mixed gender teams were cited 30% to 40% more than similar patents with all-male teams.
  • Studies in 17 different countries in all different industries found that across the board, having a larger number of women on a team accounts for greater psychological safety, team confidence, group experimentation, and team efficiency.

Overall, the reason why the data matters is simple: More diversity leads to more creative products and teams, which leads to better businesses. Jeanne Hultquist, author of the paper, explains: “[With] more diverse team chemistry, you get more perspectives with a larger variety of options to consider, and more chances of having innovative solutions proposed.” And women are a serious driver of this diversity.

What’s next for the study of women in the workforce? Researchers are hoping to zone in on a newer male-dominated industry: startups. And hopefully, the results will be just as encouraging.

Photo of women working courtesy of Shutterstock

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