The Case for Female Executives

"There’s no doubt about it - it really is time for us ladies to ‘Step Up’ and make some noise about our talents, ask for what we want and get some amazing things done. And…"

There’s no doubt about it – it really is time for us ladies to ‘Step Up’ and make some noise about our talents, ask for what we want and get some amazing things done.

And the good news is – the numbers, the facts and the stats are there to support to us.

Recent research conducted by Dow Jones suggests companies that include female senior executives are more likely to succeed than companies where only males are in charge.

The study found that companies have a greater chance of either going public, operating profitably or being sold for more money than they’ve raised when they have females in senior positions The median proportion of female executives in successful companies was 7.1% compared to 3.1% at unsuccessful companies.

According to investment executive Theresia Gouw Ranzetta “diversity is good for a company because it brings in different points of view when decisions have to be made. Women are more likely to think of different types of customers to target and different ways to sell to them. They think more out of the box. Women also tend to be more conservative than men, which is both good and bad. Financially, they may raise less money than men, which makes them more capital-efficient, but they’re also more likely to sell a company when they get a good offer, rather than to keep it independent or take it public for a bigger success down the road.”

Women are also more concerned about the emotional well-being of their team. Having more female employees, especially at the management and executive level, not only helps broaden the talent pool in a talent-constrained environment, it also brings shareholder returns through greater innovation and performance.

A Hay Group study conducted on 163 executives in the United States showed that outstanding female executives, when compared to their typical counterparts and male executives, created greater engagement from their direct reports, which supports high performance.

In 2007, Catalyst reported that, on average, companies with three or four female directors had 83 per cent greater return on equity, 73 per cent better return on sales and 112 per cent higher return on invested capital.

In 2011, Catalyst found that top-quartile companies (with 19-44 per cent women Board representation) had extra 26 per cent of Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) when compared to bottom quartile companies (with zero women directors).

In 2011, McKinsey found that companies with three or more women in top positions received notably higher Organisational Health Index.

Women who sit on corporate boards display skills that often translate into better decisions and financial success for the company, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics. It found that of the 624 board directors polled in Canada, women were more likely to use “co-operation, collaboration and consensus building” when dealing with complex decisions. While male directors more often made decisions by using “rules, regulations and traditional ways of doing business.”

The research also showed that the way women operate as directors often contributed to a company’s success. The finds, part of a larger study conducted between 2004 and 2012, presented morally conflicting scenarios to board members, asking them to solve them and explain how they came to their conclusion. Of those surveyed, 75% were male and 25% were female.

Bart, who did the research with Gregory McQueen of A.T. Still University in Arizona, says the answers from female directors showed that they were “less constrained” in their problem-solving skills than male directors. Bart says the study signals that boards, investors and shareholders, all benefit when there are more female directors. “There’s a huge pool of qualified, available women who would certainly be eligible based on their experiences to fill the boardroom seats,” he said. “(Companies) drum up all sorts of excuses as to why women aren’t being appointed to the board but they’re no longer holding water.”

It also found that women were more likely to take into account interests of multiple stakeholders and viewed fairness as an important factor in their decision-making. “Men are pack animals and they are very much quick to recognize the hierarchy of the alpha males in the group,” he said. “They would be very unhappy with people coming in with different values or views to the board.”

So hold onto those facts ladies next time you question whether you should step up and take centre stage.

Plus, by focusing on your colleagues’ well-being, you can shine the spotlight on your brilliant female qualities – all while being confident and generous enough to acknowledge the brilliant men with whom you work and collaborate everyday.