THE BUSINESS CASE FOR DIVERSITY AND GENDER EQUALITY
Establishing and advocating a business case for gender equality is an essential prerequisite for building and sustaining a commitment to gender equality.
The benefits for women in being able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities in the workplace are evident. Research further demonstrates that the benefits for implementing gender equality best practice initiatives also extends to the broader workforce, and provides a powerful value proposition to support with attracting and retaining skilled workers. From an organisational perspective, diversity and increased gender equality is also linked to increased productivity and businesses performance.
Examples of some of the key benefits include:
- Increased employee engagement and satisfaction
An extensive study on employee opinion survey responses found a positive and significant relationship between employees overall job satisfaction and engagement with how fairly their company treated diverse employees and customers (Catalyst, 2013)
- Heightened problem solving skills and innovation
Researchers measured 28 teams on a wide variety of diversity characteristics and found that diverse team performed better on highly complex tasks than homogenous teams. Researchers suggest this was related to the broader range of perspectives and thinking processes undertaken by diverse teams.
A 15 year study on the management teams of leading firms also found that companies with a greater number of women in senior management improved the performances of firms that were heavily focused on innovation due to the wider set of experiences, approaches and resources to draw upon (Catalyst, 2013).
- Enhanced customer service
A workforce that is as diverse and representative of its customer base is better equipped to understand and anticipate customer needs.
- Improved financial performance
Since 2004, a series of Catalyst studies have shown that companies with the highest representation of women in senior leadership have better financial performance than companies with the lowest representation of women. The companies with the highest representation of women had 35 percent higher return on equity and 34 percent higher total return to shareholders (Catalyst, 2013).
For further information:
· Catalyst – Why Diversity matters (2013)
· Workplace Gender Equality Agency – The business case for gender equality