Politics and Business
What Happens When Women Succeed in Business
For centuries, women have been excluded from business. In that time, business empires have grown and economies have strengthened — but had corporations included women to the fold sooner, they would undeniably be bigger and markets would be more powerful.
Now that more diverse populations have greater access to business success, we have a better idea of what happens when women participate in economic systems. Female success in business benefits everyone, as demonstrated by the following effects of female business leadership:
Men can make good leaders, but it seems that female business leaders are just a little bit better, at least when it comes to a certain set of leadership skills. Research has found that in tests of common leadership skills, like resiliency, integrity, relationship-building and problem-solving, women outperform men in every category. What’s more, women are just as capable as men in leadership roles — which makes it all the more baffling that women are so remarkably absent in those roles, assuming only about 8 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions.
Men and women aren’t always remarkably different in their leadership styles, but there are three things that most women do as leaders that men tend to lack. These things are:
Women are more open to collaboration. Whether this is a cultural or biological directive remains open to debate, but women participate in collaborative efforts to a higher degree than men do. In the workplace, this means female leaders will work with their peers and subordinates to find better solutions.
Women have higher emotional intelligence. Called EQ, emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, understand and control one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. EQ provides self-awareness and empathy, which are important skills for leaders interested in inspiring and motivating their workforce.
Women are more innovative. There has long been a debate regarding which gender is more creative, but in the workplace, the answer is definitively “women.” Firms with female leaders have been found to have more creative, innovative solutions to problems, which can manifest as lower expenses, better products, improved customer relations and more.
Women can hone these innate strengths in a women’s leadership program, where they will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to develop their full professional potential as leaders in society.
More Market Gaps Filled
Women have different perspectives than men, which is another reason why having more women in business — especially in prominent leadership roles within businesses — is advantageous. Because women have different life experiences than men, they are able to identify gaps in different markets where corporations are not adequately serving consumers with solutions they need.
Most notably, women better understand the challenges other women face, which makes them better positioned to develop solutions for female consumers. Women control around one-third of the world’s wealth, but tapping that source of consumer spending requires knowing more about what motivates women to spend their money. Female business leaders are equipped with their personal experiences and their close female relationships to inform their business decisions and fill market gaps left by generations of male business leadership.
Stronger Global Economy
A study from McKinsey Global Institute estimates that advancing women’s equity would add between $12 trillion and $28 trillion to the global economy by 2025. That is roughly equivalent to the size of the Chinese and United States economic powers combined. Women make up about half of the world’s population, but they typically direct over 80 percent of consumption in developed nations, so reaching gender parity will give more financial power to women around the world. That financial power promises major profits to businesses positioned to cater to the needs of this new and thriving consumer base — which primarily includes businesses that boast women in prominent leadership positions.
Everyone on Earth has an important female figure in their lives, which means everyone on Earth would benefit from an increase to women’s success. Fortunately, there are more women in positions of leadership than ever before — and there has been a 114 percent increase in female entrepreneurship over the past 20 years. Unfortunately, women still make up a paltry number of C-suite executives in established corporations, and it is from these places of power that real change can be affected. When women succeed, we all succeed, so the sooner we can reach gender parity in business, the better.