Today, no longer is it enough to merely operate and, with the digital revolution shaking and breaking traditional industries, innovation is essential.
One surprising trend that few could have predicted and that even fewer historic statistics would have projected, is the emergence of feminine leaderships within some of the world’s most revolutionary of companies. Yet, as we shall see, this is a world that is far from ready for all female leaders can deliver.
There has been much said about ongoing efforts by certain companies in placing women upon boards; so-called quota systems, which lay out dead set figures for how many females should be within director level positions, are subject to a particularly tense debate.
“If we fail to unlock the potential of women, we’re not only failing those individuals, we’re failing our whole economy” – David Cameron (Twitter)
Today the EU continues to push for a minimum 40% quota for female directors, and whilst in some countries this quota has already been achieved (such as within Norway), in the UK not only are we sitting at a lowly 25%, but women are additionally paid, on average, 14% less than their male counterparts.
Beyond the controversy, there is plenty of research to back the case for females within leadership roles. Check it out.
Research from global technological leader MIT identified the social power of females within group situations as long back as 2010, with their study finding that they unlock a team’s ability to cooperate well.
Yet even then, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that females could contribute to a group’s success. After all, a 2001 to 2004 study from Catalyst identified that where there were the highest percentages of female directors there was an out-performance of 66% higher an ROI than compared to other corporations. Perhaps it’s time then that women should be seen as more than equal within the board room?
““Women’s economic empowerment is often talked about in terms of quotas or targets. But this is the language of charity, of welfare, of equality for equality’s sake. And, as someone who didn’t need a quota or target to get on in the business world, it is not and should not be about those things.” - Karen Brady
Finally, as of 2014, there were no longer any all-male boardrooms amongst FTSE 100 companies. This long overdue situation was seen as something to celebrate, despite there still remaining 28 companies sitting in the FTSE 250 where there was not a female face in sight amongst the line-up of directors. These figures make for quite incredible reading, as well as just plain old bad business, as further research has contributed to the case for a positive impact upon profitability where females are in positions of power; Conversely, where all male-boardrooms are in place, studies have established a keener tendency to make poor decisions.
For the UK, at least, it appears that despite females being the face of much innovation, they remain under-represented upon boards, underpaid within almost all positions and, consequently, under-appreciated. The future, for now, remains decidedly male-driven. However, for the relative few who do forge ahead with ever larger female boardroom quotas, literal dividends could be paid.
Perhaps the question should not be whether feminine leaderships are the future of business, but rather what the outlook is for the businesses who fail to appreciate all that females in leadership roles can deliver.
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