Key Facts

Women in Leadership: Proven, Positive Impact on Organizational Success
The Business Case for Accelerating the Movement of Women into Leadership

Today, for the first time in history, we have research from prestigious sources proving that integrating women into organizational leadership increases organizational performance, profitability, and employee engagement.

These findings transform the conversation. No longer is accelerating the movement of women into senior leadership a matter of social justice. It is about economic imperative, driving profit to the bottom line.

These findings change the question from who leads better — women or men — to the question of how to integrate women’s and men’s styles to create a the most effective leadership team. The research shows that it is the integration of women’s leadership strengths into senior management that makes the difference to organizational performance. If, rather than encouraging women to lead authentically, organizations make the path to senior leadership dependent on women adopting the styles of the men currently in leadership, the organization loses the value of women in leadership. Both women and men must value each other’s leadership styles, learn to complement each other, and to adopt some of each other’s strengths. Leadership for the future is integrative.

Economic Impact

  • Businesses with more women in leadership reported up to 69% higher financial results than those with fewer women leaders. (Pepperdine University)
  • GDP in the United States would increase 9% if the gap between women and men was eliminated. (The Economist)
  • GDP in Europe would increase 13% if the gap between women and men was eliminated. (The Economist)
  • Companies with the highest representation of women in top management achieved a 35% higher return on investment (ROI) and 34% higher total return to shareholders than those with the lowest representation. (Catalyst)
  • Companies with women on their boards out-perform those with all male boards. (Credit Suisse Research Institute)

Organizational Leadership Impact

  • The most effective and collaborative teams have a greater proportion of women members.  (MIT)
  • Peers, bosses, and direct reports rate women as better overall leaders than their male counterparts – and the higher the position, the wider the gap in favor of women.  (Harvard Business School)
  • Employees and peers rate the effectiveness of senior executive women 10% higher than senior men.  (Harvard Business School)
  • Women earn 60% of all master’s degrees and are more likely to graduate with honors.  (National Center for Education Statistics)
  • Women’s leadership strengths are the skills most critical to today’s leadership success according to a survey of 64,000 people across 13 countries. (“Feminine” Values Can Give Tomorrow’s Leaders an Edge John Gerzema, Harvard Business Review Blog)

Excerpts from How Women Lead

“According to Bernard M. Bass, one of the leading management theorists, transformational leadership is imperative to success in today’s global economy, and he reports women are more likely than men to embrace this style.”

“Women’s collaborative, consultative process results in better decisions and buy-in that can dramatically reduce the time it takes to implement change.”

“Women are more inclusive when putting together teams or creating small groups to address specific situations.  The result is more creative and nontraditional solutions.”

“Women’s brains show activity in more areas distributed across the brain than men’s — leading to greater creativity and a wider range of possible solutions.”