Re:Gender works to end gender inequity by exposing root causes and advancing research-informed action. Working with multiple sectors and disciplines, we are shaping a world that demands fairness across difference.
OECD projections suggest that in just eleven years, seven out of ten graduates will be women in many countries across the world. It is crucial that men recognize that gender balance and the encouragement of women is a business imperative in today’s tough times.
This special report from DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2008/2009 is a bi-annual study that measures the impact of leadership development initiatives around the world. The study included data from more than 12,000 leaders from 76 countries. Research revealed the following: female leaders are under-represented in accelerated development programs (like high potential programs and one-on-one mentorship) are secret or happen behind closed doors, organizations aren’t held accountable for gender balance; and, having women represent in significant numbers at every leadership level doesn’t mean that will carry to the executive level– in fact, there is a backlash again women at the top when they are dominant in leadership roles at every other level.
We show that female directors have a significant impact on board inputs and firm outcomes. In a sample of US firms, we find that female directors have better attendance records than male directors, male directors have fewer attendance problems the more gender-diverse the board is, and women are more likely to join monitoring committees. These results suggest that gender-diverse boards allocate more effort to monitoring. Accordingly, we find that CEO turnover is more sensitive to stock performance and directors receive more equity-based compensation in firms with more gender-diverse boards. However, the average effect of gender diversity on firm performance is negative. This negative effect is driven by companies with fewer takeover defenses. Our results suggest that mandating gender quotas for directors can reduce firm value for well-governed firms.
A new approach to leadership can help women become more self-confident and effective business leaders. Women start careers in business and other professions with the same level of intelligence, education and commitment as men. Yet comparatively few reach the top echelons. With this in mind, the McKinsey Leadership Project, an initiative to help professional women at McKinsey and elsewhere, set our four years ago to learn what drives and sustains successful female leaders
Scholars and practitioners have long argued that females exhibit a distinctive and particularly effective managerial style. Yet, less than a third of the largest U.S. corporations have a single female senior executive, raising the question of whether women are in fact effective as senior managers, and, if so, under what circumstances.
In the past few decades, women have made great strides in their involvement in economic activity, moving ever closer to what one might call “gender equality.” Women’s college participation and graduation rates exceed those of men, and more and more women are pursuing “traditionally male” college majors, particularly in professional fields such as law and medicine. However, discrepancies persist in the field of business administration, and this state of affairs is mirrored in the workforce: the proportion of women in managerial occupations is only about 35%.
This research shows that the number of women on a company’s board of directors impacts the future of women in its senior leadership. This is significant because earlier Catalyst findings show that Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women board directors and women corporate officers, on average, achieve higher financial performance than those with the lowest. The numbers tell the story—a gender-diverse board promotes continued success for women and for business.
Evidence of a link between the bottom line and women at the top is growing, with McKinsey research showing better-than-average financial performance by European companies with the highest performance of women in influential leadership roles. The report, launched at the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society in Deauville, France, finds these companies do better than their sector in terms of return on equity, operating result, and shared price growth.
Reducing gender inequality could play a key role in addressing the twin problems of population ageing and pension sustainability. In countries where it is relatively easy for women to work and have children, female employment and fertility both tend to be higher.