After celebrating so many great female leaders during Women’s History Month in March, it is to possible to forget that there is a huge, gender-based hiring gap. Women earn 60 percent of undergraduate degrees, but only represent 49 percent of the college educated workforce in the United States.
If women are qualified to perform the work, there have to be other reasons for this discrepancy. For instance, studies show employers are more likely to hire a male applicant over an equally qualified female applicant, mostly due to the assumption that men perform certain tasks better than women. Women, however are less likely to adhere to these biases and are more likely than men to hire other women. But, if women don’t play a role in the hiring process the number of female new hires will remain low.
Regardless of the reason, it is clear that some leaders are not convinced of the value female applicants can bring to an organization. If you’re trying to convince your leadership to increase female representation, here are a few reasons your organization should hire more women.
Women Bring a Different Perspective
Studies show that a presence of differing perspectives can increase overall team knowledge. When a team lacks diversity, and is faced with a task to complete, odds are they will have a generally homogenous outlook on said task and will come up with similar ways to complete it. On the other hand, when teams are comprised of people with different backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and abilities, there are differences in opinion and therefore more opportunities to develop a creative solution.
Women tend to place higher value on work-life balance and purpose, and their outlook can provide a good contrast to the men on the team who may be more career-centric. If your organization is struggling to come up with fresh ideas, encouraging gender diversity among the team may be the first step toward innovation.
Women Make Great Leaders
Women are almost always severely underrepresented in leadership positions. Women hold 52 percent of professional jobs, but only 25 percent of executive positions and make up a mere 6 percent of CEOs. But when women do hold leadership positions, they tend to drive decent results.
In a Gallup study, female leaders scored higher than men in their ability to take initiative as well as self-development. And, while most of the results were comparable, employees reported higher engagement when they worked under a female supervisor versus a male supervisor A common strength among female leadership is their ability to foster a positive work environment and boost morale within the workplace.
Gender Diversity Can Improve Business
When an organization has a homogenous workforce, the public will eventually take notice. If women comprise 60 percent of people with college degrees and half of the work force, what excuse does your organization have for having a team that is 90 percent men? Having a team that has diversity in gender and background demonstrates integrity to clients and the general public. For this reason, gender diversity is usually profitable. Studies show that workplaces with more gender diversity report higher revenue than organizations that have a male-dominant workforce.
Not only can increasing gender diversity improve the success of a business from the outside, but it can also improve operations within an organization. Workplaces with more diversity, including gender diversity, have a 22 percent lower turnover rate compared to organizations with a homogenous workforce and also have an easier time with recruiting.
They Will Help Other Women Thrive
If you notice that your office isn’t as female-friendly as it could be, look around. How many women are present? If there are very few, that may be the root of your problem.
When a company starts to build a diverse workforce, it creates a snowball effect. For instance, when applicants notice that people with similar identities and backgrounds are thriving in a workplace, they are more likely to seek out that organization and apply. Additionally, women are more likely than men to hire other women, which means that having women as a part of the hiring process or interview panel could greatly increase your organization’s chances of having more qualified women on board.
Hiring more women will also create a source of support and mentorship for younger women that may be interested in working for the organization. Female leaders can talk to applicants about their experiences in the field as well as assist new hires in their career development by providing them with the opportunity to grow both within and outside the organization.
The first step to disabling gender biases in hiring and recruiting is becoming aware of them. Hopefully with the realization that gender diversity drives positive results, organizations will be encouraged to hire more qualified and driven women.