Women are essential to evolving, advancing, and sustaining an inclusive company culture. The business case for gender diversity has always been around—there’s plenty of research that shows women make teams more innovative, productive, and profitable—and the proof points only continue to get stronger.
But despite the amount of research on how women positively contribute to the workplace, women are still underrepresented at work and are consistently passed over for promotions. To combat this unsettling trend, it’s important to understand all of the ways in which women help teams reach their full potential.
Here are 8 incredible ways women impact your company:
1. Gender diversity makes teams more profitable
Over the past few years, several studies have shown a link between gender diversity and profitability. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams are 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability, and both company profits and share performance can be almost 50 percent higher when women are well represented at the top.
AKA, when women are at the top, your company will be better off financially. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more women are considering leaving the workforce, which could lead to detrimental financial consequences (as well as a whole other slew of ramifications). In order to retain top women employees and continue to perform well financially, it’s imperative that companies embrace and offer policies that are important to women, like the ability to work from home and flexible hours.
2. Women leaders create inclusive company cultures
McKinsey’s 2020 Women in the Workplace study shows that women leaders are more likely to adopt employee-friendly policies and programs and make racial and gender diversity a top priority. The study found that more than 50 percent of senior-level women say they consistently take a public stand for gender and racial equity at work.
Women leaders are also more likely than male leaders to advocate for equal pay for women of color, enlist their peers in racial equality efforts, and actively listen to the personal stories from women of color about bias and mistreatment. And when employers recognize and value employees’ unique experiences, they create a sense of belonging that helps employees feel seen and supported.
3. Gender diversity improves customer experiences
Having women on your team can lead to more innovative ideas for customers. Research shows that teams that have one or more members who represent the gender, ethnicity, generation, or sexual orientation of a target market are up to 158 percent more likely to innovate effectively for that end user.
When employees have shared or common experiences with an end user, they’re better able to imagine what that audience will need out of a product or service. And since women control 51 percent of U.S. wealth and either directly make or influence up to 80 percent of all purchases, it’s a huge advantage to have more women weigh in on customer experiences from the top.
4. Having more women on your team can reduce microaggressions and boost sense of belonging
Senior-level women are almost twice as likely to be “onlys'' at work, and women who are “the onlys” in their workplace are more likely to feel pressured to work more and more likely to experience microaggressions. And when microaggressions drive women out of the workforce, it leaves less and less women in the workplace, causing a vicious cycle.
In order to eradicate microaggressions in the workplace, it’s crucial to make diversity in the workplace a top priority. When women and minorities see other women and minorities on their team, especially at the top, they’re more likely to feel like they “belong” and are contributing in a valuable way.
Learn how microaggressions affect your workplace: Microaggressions Articles from InHerSight
5. Women leaders are more likely to sponsor other women
We know that allies and sponsors are an essential aspect of the workplace, especially during times of crisis. When you have a win at work, sponsors champion your name to the right people in order to get you and your work noticed. And turns out, women are more likely to sponsor other women—38 percent of senior-level women currently sponsor one or more women of color, compared with only 23 percent of senior-level men.
Again, during the pandemic when almost 2 million women are considering leaving the workforce, sponsorship is a crucial step in order to retain more women employees, jumpstart and advance women’s careers, and create a strong pipeline of women ready to take on management and leadership positions.
Read more: 9 TED Talks That Will Make You a Better Ally
6. Women are more emotionally intelligent leaders
Emotional intelligence is marked by an individual’s ability to identify, evaluate, control, and express emotions. We’ve previously written about why emotional intelligence is a necessary quality in order for any leader to be successful, and how women are ahead of the curve when it comes to possessing the coveted quality. Leading with emotional intelligence can improve employee happiness, create open lines of communication, and increase employee’s confidence (down with imposter syndrome!), making women leaders essential to workplace morale.
7. Gender diverse companies attract top women talent
Over the past few months, many companies have been stepping up their efforts in DEI, and for good reason. Not only is it simply the right thing to do, it also affects who will apply to your company. Research from Glassdoor found that employees prefer diverse work environments—67 percent of overall job seekers look at workforce diversity when evaluating an offer.
Top women candidates, in particular, care about gender diverse work environments. A recent survey found that 61 percent of women look at the gender diversity of the employer’s leadership team when deciding where to work. It’s a positive feedback loop—when you have more women in leadership, you hire more top women talent, and the cycle continues, helping more and more women advance in the workplace.
8. Gender diversity in leadership leads to more creativity
It seems obvious that when people from different backgrounds work together, their unique perspectives lead to greater creativity. But the notion that diverse teams develop more innovative ideas is backed up by research.
Leaders who give voices of diverse backgrounds and experiences equal airtime are almost twice as likely to uncover value-driving insights. And when diversity is lacking in leadership, women are 20 percent less likely to win endorsement for their ideas; people of color are 24 percent less likely; and queer people are 21 percent less likely, costing companies crucial creative opportunities.