How to Make the Business Case for Gender Equity (in 6 Points)
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Welcome to my weekly Q&A roundup. (Scroll down to find the Q&A.)
If this is your first time here, welcome. I spend a fair amount of time speaking at events and conferences. At the end of my presentations, I leave space for audience members to ask questions—tough questions, brave questions, you name it.
The level of candor and curiosity always inspires me, and I want to share that sentiment with you. So each week, I pick one question that I believe others would find most instructive and publish my response to it here.
The purpose of this weekly tradition is transparency and inclusivity.
• Transparency: a behind-the-scenes look at my day-to-day.
• Inclusivity: bringing others along in the journey.
The Pitch: Why Gender Equity?
If you had to be as succinct as possible, how would you present the business case for gender equity?
I would use six reasons to explain to business leaders why they should care about gender equity. Here they are:
1. Gender equity increases your organization’s profitability.
When corporate leadership increases to 30% female, net margins increase by 1%. For the typical firm, that’s a 15% increase in profitability.
2. Gender equity increases your organization’s return on equity.
Looking to invest in a company? Consider gender equity as part of your criteria. Businesses with higher numbers of women in management enjoy a higher return on equity (by 19%) and higher dividend payments (by 9%) than businesses with fewer women in management.
3. Gender equity increases your organization’s revenue.
For every 10% increase in gender equity, businesses see a 1-2% increase in revenue. That’s according to Pipeline’s original research conducted across 4,161 companies in 29 countries (collecting over 1 billion data points).
4. Gender equity increases your sales team’s productivity.
Companies can nearly double their sales revenue by fostering a more gender-diverse sales force. Compared to less gender-diverse sales teams, companies with 45% or greater gender-diverse sales teams (i.e. near parity) bring in two times more sales revenue.
5. Gender equity increases your organization’s ability to attract top talent.
Let’s not forget that in 2020, the US will experience a workforce shortage of 5 million skilled workers. This shortage comes at a time when women are the most educated cohort in the US and are increasing their labor force participation rates—up from 74.5% in January 2017 to 76.3% today. To stay competitive in this labor market, businesses need to retain, evaluate, pay, and promote their employees equitably; they need to signal to female talent that there’s a path to leadership within their organizations.
6. Gender equity increases your organization’s rate of innovation.
To innovate faster and stay competitive, companies should increase diversity among their leadership teams. The Harvard study that supports this claim specified two types of diversity traits: inherent (those we are born with) and acquired (those amassed via experience).
Leadership teams with at least three inherent and three acquired diversity traits (at least 6 diversity traits total) have a 45% higher likelihood of reporting growth in market share and a 70% higher likelihood of reporting new market capture.
Gender equity is more than a social issue. It’s a $2 trillion economic opportunity. Each one of our organizations sits somewhere on the continuum. As we’ve learned from the above points, the power in moving toward gender equity is enormous. It can:
✔️Increase your organization’s profitability
✔️Increase your organization’s return on equity
✔️Increase your organization’s revenue
✔️Increase your sales team’s productivity
✔️Increase your organization’s ability to attract top talent
✔️Increase your organization’s rate of innovation
These Q&A roundups can be delivered directly to you—a week before I publish them here. Interested?
(All you need is an email address.)