Women's Equality Day - How Diversity Can Fuel Great Decisions
Happy Women's Equality Day! On August 26th 1920, the Amendment that granted women the right to vote was passed by the United States Congress. This was a huge step towards incorporating diversity into the democratic decision making process of the US. It also signalled a wider change in attitude towards women's role in western society. Not only did political decision making become more diverse, businesses became more and more inclusive towards women.
There have been huge steps forward in diversity and inclusion in business. However there is still progress to be made:
- In 2009 only 24% of CEOs in the US were women, earning only 75% of what male CEOs earn. (1)
- Only 4% of CEO's at Fortune 500 companies are women (US, 2012). (2)
- Woman earn 80% of their male counterparts earnings (US, 2012). (3)
Diversity in the decision making process means diversity in expertise, experience, and thinking style, in addition to gender and race. When diversity is supported and encouraged it can fuel creativity, productivity and performance. How? Diversity means different experiences and perspectives providing new voices and fresh thinking to decision making.
Several studies and surveys show gender diversity is especially key in the boardroom where important decisions are made. (4,5,6) Gender-diverse boards have been shown to have more fresh thinking and a wider debate, increased focus on problem solving, more productive discussions and greater unity, increased conscientiousness and greater self-reflexivity. This applies not only to boardrooms but to team meetings, project management and key decision making throughout the business. High-level diversity encourages diversity at lower levels of the business. Promoting and encouraging diversity in a company's leadership fosters a safe environment where everyone can express opinions and ideas.
Powernoodle harnesses the power of diversity. We break down the barriers that stop people from contributing their thoughts and ideas. We help eliminate the biases and discrimination that can happen during the decision making process. And everyone's voice is heard.
- The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/women-leadership-companies-equality-jobs
- Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2014/07/29/women-and-minorities-penalized-for-promoting-diversity-study-says/
- US Bureau of Labour Statistics
- Paulus & Dzindolet 2008
- Stahl et al 2010
- insyncsurveys and GenderWorks survey, http://www.womenonboards.org.au/pubs/reports/gender-diversity-research.pdf