Updated: Jan 15
Many businesses today promote gender diversity and inclusion, creating and acknowledging diverse workplaces. However, sometimes it seems that companies are doing it only to appease the public, receive praise, and improve their public image. So, is there actually a correlation between gender diversity and productivity? What are the benefits of gender diversity, and what does the research say about it?
A study done by the “Harvard Business Review” found that in 1,609 companies across 35 countries, “gender diversity [related] to more productive companies, as measured by market value and revenue, only in contexts where gender diversity is [culturally and normatively] accepted.” For example, in gender-inclusive job sectors from Western Europe, a 10% increase in gender diversity related to a 7% increase in market value. For gender-exclusive job sectors in the Middle East, gender diversity and company performance were unrelated. Again, only countries with cultural, widespread support on gender diversity benefited from it, not countries with only laws that are not enforced or largely accepted. Japan, for instance, has some of the world’s most generous policies on parental leave for both men and women (parents are able to take up to a year of paid leave), but have firm patriarchal work cultures. As a result, they did not benefit from gender diversity as much as places like Western Europe did.
A separate study found that “every 1% increase in gender and racial diversity is correlated with a 3% and 9% increase in sales revenue, respectively.” This suggests that workplace inclusion promotes creativity and problem solving with the team’s unique backgrounds and perspectives.
To create a more accepting environment and culture, people must comprehend the importance of gender inclusion and not view it as a mere obligation. For companies, there are numerous ways to incorporate diversity, such as developing a new job-posting strategy to attract a more diverse candidate pool, all while making sure to not reduce or ignore merit in any way. With collective effort and support, we can attain an environment where everyone can grow and succeed.
Badal, Sangeeta. “The Business Benefits of Gender Diversity.” Gallup, Gallup, 20 Jan. 2014, www.gallup.com/workplace/236543/business-benefits-gender-diversity.aspx.
Turban, Stephen, et al. “Research: When Gender Diversity Makes Firms More Productive.” Harvard Business Review, 12 Feb. 2019, hbr.org/2019/02/research-when-gender-diversity-makes-firms-more-productive.
“Workplace Diversity Through Recruitment - A Step-By-Step Guide.” Ideal, 12 June 2020, ideal.com/workplace-diversity/.