How Gender Equality Is Beneficial for the Economy
For every dollar that men earn, women earn 82.3 cents. That’s according to the U.S. Census Bureau, using statistics from 2019 — the most recent year for which figures are available. And these numbers hurt more than just a family’s budget. In fact, this gender pay gap could be stifling the U.S. economy.
So what would happen if women became equal partners in the executive suite? If they were promoted to jobs often to given to men and packing an equal paycheck? Plenty.
“Business is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Women in business afford a company the ability to have a spectrum of responses to the marketplace,” said Therese Allison, author of “Playing for Keeps: How a 21st century businesswoman beat the boys,” being released this month in conjunction with International Women’s Day.
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March is also Women’s History Month, and business leaders in the United States and abroad say women should be put in place to make history — and money — for their companies.
“Inviting diverse perspectives to the table seemingly makes for good business sense: a growing body of research suggests a correlation between workforce gender diversity and positive outcomes such as increased revenue and profits,” said Jay Lipman, co-founder and president at Ethic Inc.
A 2015 report from the McKinsey Global Institute backs that up. In a scenario that shows women participating in the economy at the same level as men, as much as $28 trillion — or 26% — would be added to the annual global gross domestic product.
“Empowering women also means empowering the economy,” said Simon Elkjaer, the chief marketing officer of Danish electronics firm avXperten. “Making sure that your workforce is diverse, inclusive and treats women fairly and equally opens your company to diverse ideas and boosts productivity, which in turn gives your business more value and an increased bottom line. What businesses and nations should realize is that they can only grow if they make sure that everyone is given the same opportunities. If businesses still want to be in the running in the future, then they better start practicing gender equality and diversity in the workplace.”
Companies reap the rewards of involving women in everything from setting policy to developing products, two CEOs said.
“Diversity in all forms creates a broader basis for both understanding and decision-making,” said Misty Frost, the CEO of Carrus, an online healthcare training and professional development provider. “Bringing different perspectives can save companies significant time and money in assessing a broader set of risks as well as seeing a larger pool of opportunities. At its very most basic level, diversity can help in averting poor decisions that are extremely costly to unwind.”
Dr. Kristin Hull, founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital, agreed on the need for greater involvement of women in key workplace processes.
“Women bring a different perspective and are essential in assisting with design of consumer goods, for which they are the main purchasers,” Hull said.
The World Bank estimated in 2018 that across the globe, countries are losing a combined $160 trillion in wealth because of the discrepancy in lifetime earnings between women and men.
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“Women make up half of the world’s population — and half of the world’s consumers,” said Shaun Price, head of customer acquisition at New Zealand-based MitoQ. “Having a gender diverse company is morally correct, but if the ethical considerations behind equality aren’t enough to motivate you to actively diversify your workforce, think of the capitalist considerations.
“If your company is gender diverse, you can market more effectively toward women. Studies have shown that consumers think more positively about companies that are gender diverse, even subconsciously. Having a strong emotional connection with your customers drives brand loyalty, and the ability to amplify voices across all genders will allow you to market your product to the entire population, rather than just half of it.”
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