Back in 2017, Jacinda Ardern was the world’s youngest head of state when she was first elected Prime Minister of New Zealand and then became a new (working) mum banning most assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons across New Zealand after the Christchurch massacre. She then led New Zealand through the COVID pandemic with few deaths and a relatively preserved economy.
Two Years later, Kamala Harris’ election to the Vice Presidential role as the first woman and the first person of colour marked a huge first.
Then in 2021, economist and international development expert, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala became the first woman and the first African to be nominated as Director-General of the World Trade Organization. Fist pump.
Here in Australia, we might not yet have female leaders at the Federal leadership level, but changes are still happening. Today 32.6% of Australian board directors are women and there are only 2 companies left without a single woman at the board table on the ASX 300. So far in 2021, 45.5% of all new board directorships on listed boards have gone to women.
Why does it matter?
Well quite apart from the fact that it’s time to come out of the dark ages, there are some compelling reasons to be more enlightened.
According to a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, going from having no women on the senior leadership team (the CEO, the board, and other C-suite positions) to a 30 percent female share was linked to a one-percentage-point increase in net margin (or a 15 percent increase in profitability for a typical firm.)
They proposed that having women at the top brings greater skill diversity to top management, and therefore less gender discrimination throughout the management ranks, which helps to recruit, promote, and retain talent. A review of over 160 studies found that women tend to use a more inclusive and trusting leadership style, sharing knowledge to a greater extent than men.
Plus, in an interesting survey using data from nearly 400 Danish firms, coupled with nationwide data from the Danish Integrated Database for Labour Market Research, there was a positive relationship between the proportion of women in top management teams and the firm’s ability to innovate.
Research from the International Labour Organization (ILO) finds that the beneficial effects of gender diversity begin to accrue when women hold 30 percent of senior management and leadership positions.
IWD at ESK
Here at ESK, women live at the top! Besides the CEO, our entire SLT are women. Our Head or Marketing, Head of Customer Service and Head of Operations are all brilliant, capable, and fun-loving women. And today we’ll be celebrating IWD by overdosing on cupcakes!