Research identifies link between women in leadership, higher company profits: 8 things to know

Having more women in the C-suite is correlated to increased profitability, a global study has found, according to The New York Times.

The study, released Monday by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the audit firm EY, analyzed the leadership teams and bottom lines of nearly 22,000 publicly traded companies in 91 countries. Researchers determined that despite the economic benefits of women holding senior executive roles, many corporations continue to struggle with gender diversity.

Here are eight findings from the study, according to NYT.

1. Nearly 60 percent of the 22,000 companies evaluated had no female board members, and more than half had no female executives. Slightly under 5 percent had a female CEO.

2. Female CEOs did not significantly under or over perform when compared with male CEOs.

3. The study found female board members were correlated with higher company profitability, but "in statistical terms that evidence is not robust," Marcus Noland, PhD, the institute's executive vice president and director of studies, told NYT.

4. However, women in top management positions were strongly correlated to increased profitability. Dr. Noland said an increase in the share of women from zero to 30 percent would be associated with a 15 percent rise in profitability.

5. The study did not produce evidence that quotas for women on boards — which certain countries, such as Norway, Denmark and Finland, require — had any impact on bottom lines. "In the long run, what's more important than achieving diversity by fiat is really policies on education, nondiscrimination, child care, things of that sort," Dr. Noland told NYT.

6. Compared to companies around the world, American companies were in the middle in terms of female representation in top leadership roles, with women filling 12 percent of board seats and 16 percent of executive positions, according to the report.

7. Companies in Norway were the most gender diverse, with women accounting for 40 percent of board seats and 20 percent of executive positions. Japanese companies exhibited the least gender diversity, with women holding just 2 percent of board seats and 3 percent of executive positions.

8. Mandated maternity leave was not correlated with higher rates of female leadership, but more generous paternity leave policies were, according to the report. "If you have a supportive set of policies, which would include paternal leave, which allows women to have children while maintaining their careers in a relatively undisruptive manner, you see more women making it to the very top," Dr. Noland said.

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