Women in Leadership Roles Foster Innovation, Engagement
The theme of International Women’s Day 2023 (March 8) is “Embrace Equity,” which calls on everyone to celebrate the achievement of women, raise awareness about discrimination and take action to drive gender parity. Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go to achieve equality when it comes to women in business. According to Catalyst, as of February 2, 2023, women hold the CEO position at only 8.2% of S&P 500 companies.
There are many reasons why women in leadership roles are essential for successful businesses. Workplace notes that by having a more diverse workforce, companies are more likely to see higher levels of innovation and financial performance. A Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation, and another study found that women-owned businesses earn 1.5 times more new business opportunities than their male counterparts.
Additionally, women in leadership roles can help organizations forge a deeper connection with their customers and employees, inspire other women employees, and boost employee engagement. McKinsey and Company’s 2022 Women in the Workplace study states that in 2021, 65,000 people were asked about their experience working during the pandemic, and out of all participants, those with women bosses were more likely to say they felt supported throughout 2020. Attributes often associated with women, such as compassion, are often overlooked as a desired characteristic for leadership, but proved to be important through the great resignation and the increase of employees leaving toxic work cultures.
The McKinsey and Company study also noted that as companies look to make meaningful and sustainable progress toward gender equality, they must go beyond the bare minimum. Women are stepping away from companies at a high rate as they look for workplaces that prioritize flexibility, employee well-being, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). It’s important for companies to both retain and elevate women in leadership positions. The report concluded:
“If companies don’t take action, they risk losing not only their current women leaders but also the next generation of women leaders. Young women are even more ambitious and place a higher premium on working in an equitable, supportive, and inclusive workplace. They’re watching senior women leave for better opportunities, and they’re prepared to do the same.”
During this time of unprecedented change for the forestry and paper industry, integrating more women is more important than ever. According to a Paper & Pulp Canada article, greater numbers of women on boards are linked to stronger financial performance for shareholders, better merger and acquisition outcomes, increased social responsibility ratings and enhanced reputation and increased disclosure and transparency for environmental, social and governance matters. Organizations that have more women may also have a competitive advantage, with a greater pool of potential workers, more inclusive policies and practices, and a greater focus on employee engagement. As this industry continue to evolve, companies must call on women and recognize their importance in driving success.
This International Women’s Day, consider how you can “Embrace Equity” within your own sphere of influence. Whether challenging gender stereotypes, calling out discrimination, drawing attention to bias, or seeking out inclusion, every step matters in the quest for a more inclusive world.
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