Why More Women Are Needed in Corporate America
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For decades, women were typically been excluded from the male-controlled workforce. Now they make up over half of the workforce; however, they only hold 16 percent of executive positions. Women are definitely qualified for high-level positions, as they make up 60 percent of all undergraduate and master’s degree holders. Arizona State University points out that degree-holding women earn almost half of the income of married parents and are the principal wage earners in about one-third of dual-income couples. Women are clearly qualified and capable in the workplace, so why are they excluded from positions of power?
Whether intentionally or not, women are still excluded today — except now instead of being barred from the workforce altogether, they are barred from high-level positions. This exclusion hurts everyone: women, businesses, and their bottom line. On the other hand, diversity has a positive effect on business and employees alike. Here are a few reasons why corporate America needs more women in executive jobs.
Good for the Bottom Line
First and foremost, hiring more women can improve a business’s bottom line. Ohio University notes that organizations with the highest level of gender diversity had 1325 percent higher mean sales revenue than those with low levels. They point to a similar number for companies with high racial diversity.
There are several ways that diversity makes such a big impact on business success. Women have a unique perspective by virtue of their gender; they bring different ideas, skills, and experiences to the table. Exposure to this variety of perspectives can help teams increase productivity and creativity — this can lead to new, innovative products and services. In addition, many customers would rather support companies that prioritize diversity than those that don’t.
Good for Employees
Diverse organizations are also beneficial to current and future employees. Diverse companies tend to have a more positive public image, which is an extra edge over competitors. New candidates are attracted to inclusive workplaces, and less-inclusive competitors will miss out on talented, skilled individuals. An inclusive organization ensures that the best candidate for the job will be selected.
In addition, research from the Human Resource Management Journal suggests that a diverse workplace leads to less employee turnover. When employees feel that their organization values inclusivity, they feel that their organization recognizes their worth. However, keep in mind that employees should be valued not despite their gender, but because of it. Inclusive organizations need to celebrate those differences to show how they value their diverse employees and consumers.
Good for the World
The future will look brighter and be better served with more women in executive positions. In order to have more women in corporate America, they need to focus on lifting each other up. If more women are in positions of power now, they will create more opportunities for other women in the future. As they move into the C-suite, they will have the power to bring in more women and people from other marginalized groups.
However, companies need to hire more women in all positions before they can move up to high-level positions. For industries with a large gender gap, companies need to start being more inclusive before new employees are even hired. In an article exploring the gender gap in cybersecurity, Maryville University notes that inclusivity begins with branding: “companies should avoid male-oriented language and military-inspired messaging that promotes a ‘boy’s club’ messaging.” Though their focus is on the cybersecurity industry, this advice applies to all fields that need or are looking to recruit more women. Because, regardless of the field, recruiting at women-specific organizations or conferences can help close the gap — but not if companies are advertising to the wrong audience.
Women have a completely different set of skills and when they are excluded from executive and C-suite positions, business suffers. From profits to employee happiness, companies have very little to lose and much to gain by hiring more women. There are other important conversations to have, including sexual harassment and the wage gap, but women need to have more power in the workplace to properly address those issues.