Diversity is about more than social justice. Research has found that gender diversity in a business increases profitability by up to 65 per cent, and that businesses which have females in senior leadership positions outperform businesses that don’t.
“When you have men and women working together, you generate profitability, reduce turnover, reduce law-suits and move the best people up the ladder,” said Jill Beresford, founder and CEO of Genderversity, a U.S.-based firm that uses gender medicine research to show how and why gender diversity can positively impact businesses.
“When you bring different people together, whether they are male or female, or from different cultures, you build a more creative environment which can give you a competitive edge,” said Beresford.
The female brain has deeper memory banks than the male brain, a better ability to multitask, and a greater awareness of morals and ethics, according to Beresford. All of these qualities can be highly beneficial to a business.
Beresford referenced the global financial crisis of 2008 which she believes was caused, in part by the “aggressive, testosterone-fueled behaviour” of the male-dominated financial industry. By contrast, women are wired to consider the long-term implications of their actions.
Beresford has found that when you have an all-male team working together, the team often develops “group think” as nobody likes to disagree with the alpha male.
“There’s this notion that when the guy at the top is talking, everyone else listens but nobody will challenge him,” said Beresford. When women are in the mix, there will be a broader range of ideas and problem-solving skills.
In addition to increasing profitability, Beresford believes that businesses with women in the senior ranks are less likely to be hit by sexual harassment law-suits which come at a huge financial cost and increase insurance premiums for the business.
Beresford founded Genderversity in 2014 after 20 years of thriving in male-dominated corporate environments. She delivers diversity and inclusion workshops in the U.S. and speaks at events around the globe.