Bottom Line: Mixed Gender Boardrooms Are Good for Business
Yet more evidence that old boys club networks that keep women out of positions of power are shooting themselves in the foot. Credit Suisse analysed 2,500 companies and found that those with more than one woman on the board were more successful than those with all male boards. And not just marginally more successful. They found organizations with women board members outperformed their all-male counterparts, by the study's metric, by 26 percent. They had 4 percent higher average growth over the last six years and a 4 percent higher return on equity.
Credit Suisse's Michael O'Sullivan explained to CNBC:
Introducing women to a group of men changes their behavior and makes them focus more. Companies with more women on the board tend to be closer to the consumer and have a better sense as to what is going on in their product markets.
The report showed that a mixed-gender board brings a better blend of leadership skills and access to a wider talent pool, reported CNBC. Still, points out Bob Sutton on his blog, sexism and dramatic underrepresentation in the upper echelons persists:
While women comprise 51% of the population, they make up only 15.7% of Fortune 500 boards of directors, less than 10% of California tech company boards, and 9.1% of Silicon Valley boards.
To my wife, who recently was asked to join the all-male board of a nonprofit, the news that her presence would enrich the group, came as little surprise.