While there are many studies into gender equality in the workplace, they usually focus on the number of men versus the number of women in various roles. The number of women in business leadership roles may be increasing, but they are far from parity. This makes the findings of some studies interesting reading, especially when they usually find the greater the gender equality in senior management, the better the bottom line in terms of performance and profit. This is not because a particular gender is better, but rather because all people within the workplace have a chance of succeeding – no matter what gender they are.
One study even looked at the profit margins and revenue within different business (Gallup & Badal 2014), and found:
– Business divisions with greater gender diversity within a retail company had approximately 14% greater revenue.
– A hospitality company with higher gender diversity had approximately 19% greater quarter profits.
It would be incorrect to use this as evidence that females are better in leadership roles than males. Instead, these results reflect what the best and brightest are looking for in a work environment – equality. Companies that do tend to favour men in leadership roles are possibly ruling out 50% of the talent pool when hiring!
In this sense, gender equality in upper management is not about forcing companies to hire women in senior roles. Rather, it is about making sure more companies (and those who are doing the hiring) hire based on skills rather than gender. It is absurd to think in this modern age that a deciding factor for a high level role in a company could come down to your sex, but it does happen.
However, much of research points to hiring more females in leadership roles as the key to economic success. Besides the examples mentioned earlier in terms of sales and profit, businesses with greater gender equality are more likely to have greater co-operation within teams and even greater negotiating outcomes on important deals.