Gender Equality in the Workplace Increases Productivity

The fight for gender equality is a noble cause on its own merits – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t pragmatic reasons for paying women their fair share, for employing as many women as men, and even for giving men more access to family-related working arrangements.

Put simply, productivity increases noticeably when workplaces care about gender parity. And while that surfaces in the bottom line, it also applies to individual workers, and all the way up to benefits on a national scale.

Gender Equality

Parity saves businesses money and increases profits

If you feel you aren’t being treated fairly in your current job environment, how likely are you to stay?

As might be expected, less likely than if the reverse were true, according to a 2011 study published in Human Resource Management Journal. The authors concluded that employees with a positive perception of an organization’s diversity (including gender diversity) were less likely to be going back to the job market.

And that’s good for the bottom line – turnover is expensive.

Besides just saving money, though, evidence suggests gender equality makes companies more money, too.

An examination of Fortune 500 companies found that those with more women serving on their boards of directors performed significantly better financially in terms of equity, sales, and invested capital.

Even within the same company, “shifting from an all-male or all-female office to one split evenly along gender lines could increase revenue by roughly 41 percent,” according to an MIT study published in the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy.

It makes sense intuitively – diversity of employees implies diversity of experience, and therefore a greater number of innovative ideas than might be seen in a more homogeneous environment.

So diversity saves money by retaining employees, and also leads to greater profits – certainly a win-win.

It makes sure resources and skills aren’t squandered

Here’s another hot take: a college education is expensive. In terms of money, yes, but also in terms of time.

And since women have outnumbered men in terms of enrollment in higher education since the 1980’s (at least in the U.S.), that means not employing women – or employing them in underpaid positions – squanders their time and money, as well as the resources of those institutions.

Higher education is a years-long investment, and maintaining a gender-diverse environment in the workplace makes sure that investment is a good one for everybody.

What’s more, women bring particular skills to the workplace that directly benefit productivity.

For example, women tend to be more organized than men, in terms of everything from showing up on time to keeping their office or desk space tidy – which, yes, makes for a more productive employee.

In other words, hiring fewer women squanders both the resources they’ve invested into their education and the particular skills and abilities they contribute to an office.

It improves the economy on a national scale

Finally, improving gender parity has demonstrable benefits on a societal and national economic scale, too.

We’ve already seen how employing more equal numbers of men and women improves profits, which implies an improvement in the overall health of the economy as well.

But beyond just inferring from data on individual companies, research has shown that gender equality on a national scale helps improve vital indicators of economic health, such as GDP per capita and overall employment rates.

So gender equality is not just a boon to women or the companies they work for – it’s a society-wide benefit.

Conclusion

It can’t be stated enough that fighting for gender equality is a worthy cause in and of itself. But if you want to add yet another piece of evidence on the side of advocating for gender equality, you have it.

Gender parity makes good business sense.

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