WHY COMPANIES SHOULD ACHIEVE GENDER EQUALITY ON THE BOARD / Miteki Takeyama

These days, whether companies attach importance to gender equality in the workplace is considered one of the significant measures in assessing their contributions to a better working environment. Iris Kuo, who is a journalist, and Camille Ricketts, a marketing leader, set up a research group for the purpose of enlightening consumers. The team called LedBetter carried out a survey about what percentage of women employees occupy top roles such as directors, and announced the results in ‘The Gender Equality Index.’ According to the data, Samsung, Nintendo, Nissan, and other corporations do not employ any women as executives of the companies. Toyota, Honda, Panasonic, which are based in Japan, were also ranked near the bottom (LedBetter, 2016, n.p.). Though ideas that encourage gender equality and help women gain opportunities at work are common nowadays, the real situation is unsatisfactory. Therefore, companies should offer women more opportunities to be in management positions or offer more chances for women to become corporate board members.

To begin with, the firms with women executives can acquire broader and multiple opinions on their administration and governing policies. The U.S. based tax advisory firm conducted a study on this crucial merit. It proved that corporations listed on S&P 500 in the U.S, the UK FTSE 350, and CNX 200 in India with at least one female director, succeeded in making larger profits compared to those which have only male executives (Farrell, 2015, para 1-3). For instance, in this data, the U.S. S&P 500 enterprises run by diverse boardrooms earn 1.91% more returns than their competitors. Surprisingly, it converts to 567 billion dollars amounting to 3.3% of the nation’s GDP (Lagerberg, 2015, para 5). By adopting distinctive ideas from the perspectives of women, alongside those provided by men, companies are exposed to more opportunities to thrive and get ahead in business. Not only in decision-making posts, but also in lower and mid-level staff positions, the diversity of gender suggests a variety of concepts and brings a breath of fresh air into every occasion.

Next, the more females there are in top positions, the more encouragement they can provide to other female employees. The number of women who devote themselves to work, domestic chores, and childcare at the same time is increasing. Consequently, the hottest issue is whether the environment and the aid offered by firms are helpful for them or not in terms of keeping a healthy work-life balance. Beyond the question of whether-or-not the current policies to assist females engaged in both official and private lives are supportive enough, the difficulty lies in the overall atmosphere flowing through the workplace. If males highly outnumber females, it will be overwhelmingly hard for women to be understood and tolerated. Under such a situation, they are in unfavorable positions. Yet, by having women in directorships, those kinds of circumstances can be improved. They would take employee benefit programs and gender inequity issues more seriously. Besides, as they work on those issues, they can win trust from other women workers. It results in uniting the company and reflects well upon how the company is run. What is more, staff who suffer from dealing with some aspects of their life would be stimulated by female higher-ups. Zenger Folkman Inc. researched how men and women leaders were evaluated by their peers and subordinates on sixteen competences required of leadership roles. According to this data, women bosses are assessed more highly in fifteen abilities than men, which include “developing, inspiring and motivating others” (Folkman & Zenger, 2012, para 2&7). Perhaps they will become an object of admiration or a symbol of someone’s personal goal and raise the morale.

Lastly, the fact that corporations are making efforts to achieve gender equality give good impressions to consumers. As LedBetter began to research annually, the actual proportion of women in leadership roles in about 2,000 consumer brands, those contributions have become much clearer than ever. Thus, some corporations seem to have installed females as members on the board in order to gain more likability from the public. Sallie Krawcheck, who is now CEO of Ellevest, which is an online investment site for women, asserted that customers would make a purchase in different ways if they were aware of each company’s steps to hold a balance of the male-female ratio (O’Brien, 2016, para 6). Once they start to choose what they buy from that point of view, the behavior will have a huge impact on a firms’ interests, for about 80% of women hold the purse strings in the family. Actually, it is proved that firms which appoint women to senior management are 15% more likely to financially outperform others which do not (Hunt, Layton & Prince, 2015, para 5). Former U.S. President Barack Obama insisted at the United States of Women Summit that we should take account of attempts to abolish discrimination based on sex in the workplace and should buy things from corporations pursuing equality (the White House, 2016, para 22). In this way, the American government is trying to promote gender equality. Therefore, it can be said that companies, which have already applied these principles, are more advantageous.

According to a Catalyst Census in 2015, only 19.9% of people in boardrooms are women in 500 S&P companies. The rate is still far away from parity. Speaking of CEOs, 20 out of 500 CEOs are females, which means merely 4% of the totlal (Catalyst, 2015, n.p.). Taking women’s knowledge in an only-male privileged world may sound threatening for some male directors who stick to the old-fashioned idea that men are superior in running businesses. However, times have greatly changed. Women have equal ability to manage any companies’ operations. In addition, they can attract consumers, since those corporations willingly involving themselves in gender equality issues tend to earn people’s approval. As more and more companies are following this trend, there is no reason to hesitate to provide women workers with chances to step up into higher positions. From now on, it is females that hold the key to the prosperity in companies.

References

 

Farrell, S. (2015, September). Companies with women on the board perform better, report finds. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/29/companies-with-women-on-the-board-perform-better-report-finds

Folkman, J.& Zenger, J. (2012, March). Are women better leaders than men? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2012/03/a-study-in-leadership-women-do

Hunt, V., Layton, D.& Prince, S. (2015, January). Why diversity matters. McKinsey& Company. Retrieved from http://www.mckinsey.com/ business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters

Lagerberg, F. (2015, September). The value of diversity. Grant Thornton.

Retrieved from: http://www.grantthornton.global/en/              insights/articles/ diverse-boards-in-india-uk-and-us-outperform-male-only-peers-by-us$655bn/

LedBetter. (2016). The Gender Equality Index. LedBetter.

Retrieved from http://www.getledbetter.com/#/company/hm-group

O’Brien, S. (2016, June). These companies have zero women on their boards. CNN. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2016/ 06/14/news/companies/ledbettergenderequality/index.html?section=money_topstories&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fmoney_topstories+%28CNNMoney%3A+Top+Stories%29

The Catalyst research center (2015, June). 2015 Catalyst Census: Women and Men Board Directors. Catalyst. Retrieved from http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/2015-catalyst-census-women-and-men-board-directors

The White House, Office of the Press Secretary (2016, June). Remarks by the President   at United States of Women Summit. The White House. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/06/14/remarks-president-united-states-women-summit

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