If you heard those words, would you laugh or cry? Maybe it’s neither. You just wouldn’t believe it anyway. Despite the healthcare mess and its escalating costs that are still racing out of control, there really is some good news coming from the government. The news is actually being delivered by Forbes Insights and Deloitte. Women in government are good for business.
In “Paths to Power: Advancing Women in Government” they report on the progress women have made in government. Women are doing better in government than in business. Almost 10% of the members of the United Nations have female heads of state. Only 3% of the top 1000 multinational companies have a woman president or CEO. Women comprise nearly 20% of parliamentary seats worldwide, yet account for only 13.5% of women executive officers of the top 500 U.S. companies.
So women have made strides in government. Why is that such good news? It seems that when women do well in government, it leads to women doing well in business, too. That’s good news. The report says, “Women in government set the stage for the advancement of women in both the public and private sectors, and ultimately for women as a force in the economy and society. Countries where efforts to include women at the highest levels of government…have reaped rewards in the private sector as well. Often, advancement in the public sector leads the way, serving as a model or precursor to growth in the private sphere.” Are you cheering yet?
If you’re not, this should make you cheer. The numbers show that women are also good for producing results in business. Here’s what the report says, “In the private sector as well, participation by women in senior roles has been shown to translate into greater financial rewards: the top 500 multinational firms who had at least three women on their boards saw a 16.7% return on equity; average companies saw just 11.5%. The greater the number of women, the greater the difference; those with the greatest number of women on their boards had 53% greater return on equity than those with the fewest.” That made me cheer.
So women have proven that they’re good for business. Now they have to get in positions of power in business. What’s stopping them? One statement caught my eye. The report said, “Put simply, utilizing the “best and brightest” remains impossible if a country isn’t tapping into half of its population.” Some businesses still don’t think about advancing women.
From what I’ve seen, one reason to exclude women from senior positions is if they don’t have a cross section of business experiences. When people are groomed for advancement, they get operations, sales and financial experience. When women don’t have the cross section of experience that men have, it makes it easier for management to pick a man for the job. If you want a senior level job, do you have sales, operations and finance experience? You become less valuable –and promotable–if your experience is in just one business area.