Increased Profitability Through Gender Diversity


Genderversity Blog and Media Reviews

Gender Diversity – The Guys Who Get It, and Those Who Don't

Sometimes it seems like most companies don’t know how to work with women. Fox News, Uber, Bestworks, UBS, Ralph’s Grocery Stores, Chipotle, Google, and countless others make headline news on a regular basis for this very reason.

Many corporations at some point in their lifetime have been, are, or will be engaged in/settling their sexual harassment and discrimination claims, and unfortunately no one sees those (very expensive) sexual harassment and discrimination cases ending anytime soon. But does all the fault lie on men who don’t value women in the workplace? Can you name one male-run company that values female input tremendously and has been in the news lately?

Probably not and probably not without a Google search. Here’s two:

Joe Keefe, is President and CEO of Pax World Funds and its investment adviser, Pax World Management LLC, as well as its majority-owned subsidiary, Pax Ellevate Management LLC. Keefe is a leading advocate for investing in women, is aware of the critical role that gender diversity plays in business success, and actively works to create this diversity in his own companies. Indeed, Pax Ellevate Management LLC, a gender-lens investing pioneer and investment adviser to the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund (PXWEX, or just “the Fund”), announced in July, that the Fund outperformed the MSCI World Index, for the three-year period.

Keefe sees the economic benefit in working with women. It really is just that simple. No grandstanding. No excuses. No headline news. Just performance that exceeds that of men-run only companies by up to 65%. Just profitability, which, in case you forgot, is what most of us are in business for.

Similarly, Kevin O’Leary of Canada, better known as “Mr. Wonderful” from Shark Tank, also sees the value and financial contribution of women-led businesses. In a recent interview with The Boston Business Journal, Kevin spoke about why he has 50% of his portfolio in women-run companies. In the interview he even goes so far as to claim that “women CEOs are a better bet than men”. A man of few words (though some may argue that his words aren’t very kind), Kevin “gets it”.

The factual, responsible, and proven understanding/implementation of the gender diversity research results demonstrates that when 30% or more of a company’s Senior Management Team and/or Board membership are women, the company will be up to 65% more profitable. Contrast that with the companies who have sexual assault/discrimination/harassment issues all over them and no/few women at the top. Coincidence? I think not.

Headlines like this from August 4th’s Washington Post: “Uber’s search for a Female CEO has been narrowed down to 3 men”, while cleverly-written and quite humorous, is sobering – and sad. It tells us how the men in charge at Uber think, taking the hypocritical approach of “Let’s-tell-the-world-we-want-a-female-CEO-but-do-something-else” which historically hasn’t served them very well.

Arianna Huffington, the ONLY woman on the Uber Board, had the gumption to speak up and tell the guys what Joe Keefe and Kevin O’Leary (and others like them) already knew. Her honest, fact-based and responsible suggestion to put more women on the Uber Board to attempt to capitalize on the expertise women bring to business was met with a comment by Board member, David Bonderman that women talk too much (maybe he should have listened to her, as he no longer has a Board seat at Uber, but perhaps he considers his new reputation as a rampant misogynist as a fair tradeoff).

Uber has offered their open CEO position to Dara Khosrowshahi, as one Uber source told Recode…”everyone is becoming exhausted. We need someone with the skills to move us along”. I personally believe Khosrowshahi to be extremely qualified. But so was Meg Whitman, Sheryl Sandberg, and Susan Wojcicki. For the sake of all of those who work at Uber and their investors I hope Dara works out for you.

Uber did not ask my advice as a Gender Diversity Consultant, a former CEO of a publicly-held company, and as a woman, But here it is:

Bank on the guys who bank on the women….it’s just good for business!