Over the last several decades, we’ve seen a measurable increase in the number of women in leadership roles across the country. In 2020, for example, the share of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies reached an all-time high of 7.4%, according to a Pew Research study. Let that sink in. The mere 37 women heading major firms in 2020 represented the highest share ever of women in such positions.

While the number of women serving on boards for these same companies rose to a much higher 27% in 2019, the gap is apparent and problematic for companies seeking peak performance from their leadership team and workforce. There have been numerous studies on the value women can bring to leadership positions – here are just a few of the advantages.

Women in Leadership Roles are Highly Qualified

In terms of both education and soft skills, women have demonstrated capability. According to the US Census Bureau, women are earning bachelor’s degrees at a higher rate than men. This trend appears to continue through advanced degrees, as well.

A 2016 research study also showed that women in the workplace excel at using the soft skills that are fundamental to strong leadership and business performance. According to the US Labor Department, business leaders are placing a high value on these soft skills, such as networking, professionalism, and critical thinking.

Diversity Improves Problem Solving and Workplace Culture

When forming a team, diversity is an invaluable element. A team with more social diversity, such as gender, ethnicity, or other identities, will include a greater variety of experiences and perspectives. A diversity of experiences within a team pool together to increase a team’s knowledge base. Differing viewpoints and perspectives can increase creativity and encourage new ideas. Additionally, increased diversity brings an influx of cultural norms and heightened awareness.

In the second part of this series, we’ll look at overcoming barriers to increasing the number of women in leadership positions and from a workplace culture perspective, that means finding a work-life balance that actually works for employees, regardless of gender.

At ACTN Strategies, we specialize in cultural transformation strategies that drive growth. To learn more about our executive coaching and leadership development offerings, please see our website or drop us a line at info@actnstrategies.com