The women are underrepresented in leadership roles is a fact that continues to hold true well into 2016. Though there has been an overall increase in diversity across many different industries, there is a considerable number of companies who either have no women in top leadership positions or relatively few compared to the male workforce. In most discussions concerning women in such roles, the focus has been placed mostly in diversity, neglecting or outright ignoring the business and financial sides.
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However, several studies have since confirmed that companies with women in top positions consistently outperform those companies which have no or fewer women in such positions. Catalyst, the well-regarded non-profit organization, has conducted a number of different studies and compiled them in a comprehensive report that confirms a simple fact that few know to be true; women not only drive innovation forward but also allow a business to grow financially across the board, from return on sales to return on investment. Furthermore, it was found that mix-gender teams were much more efficient in every element than male-dominated ones.
Women in business are driven by an intense focus, characterized by the challenges that many of them have had to face while climbing the corporate ladder. More specifically, women in leadership roles foster innovation and drive companies towards more clearly-defined futures. They have an innately fresh perspective on whatever type of business they are in as they are able to recognize trends because they usually have higher levels of social sensitivity and empathy. As a result, mixed-gender groups also tend to be better at problem-solving and exhibit higher levels of collective intelligence, something which can only be achieved through collaborative efforts based on social interactions and mutual trust.
Some of the world's largest and most successful companies are led by women, a lot of whom are known for their tenacity and passion for their business. Sheryl Sandberg, Mary Barra, Susan Wojcicki, and Indra Nooyi are just some of the women who hold top leadership roles in companies as successful as Facebook, General Motors, YouTube, and PepsiCo. With their help, their companies have grown tremendously over the years, owing largely to a sense of innovation that constantly keeps them moving forward. According to Forbes, one of the main reasons for this is that women tend to be more motivated by how meaningful their work is, compared to men who are more likely to be satisfied by job titles or financial compensation. And according to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, another major contributing fact is that women tend to take more people-based approaches when it comes to business.
Overall, there have been major strides to include more women in leadership roles and the results are outstanding from any point of view. Organizations like the Institute for Women's Leadership provide training that aims to bring even more women into the business fold while InnovateUK is currently encouraging women with potential to be successful entrepreneurs and leaders in innovation to apply for government support and funding to help them to succeed.
Organizations who see the cold truth of financial statistics will be far more likely to include women in top-level positions. To thrive for innovation, all an organization has to do is find the right woman for the job.