With potential to boost profits by up to 20 per cent, a woman’s place is at work, says UN labour agency

ILO/Crozet M. Winnie Kakunta is in charge of SME development at the Community Relations department for Barrick Lumwana Mining. The company has partnered with the Zambia Green Jobs Programme led by the ILO, to build housing with local and green materials for its employees. (14 November 2015)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Businesses perform better – sometimes by as much as 20 per cent – when they employ more women in top positions, UN labour experts said on Wednesday, warning nonetheless that most still pay lip-service to the idea of gender equality in the boardroom.

In a report covering 13,000 firms in 70 countries, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that globally, around six in 10 agreed that gender diversity improved their business, with almost as many citing gains in creativity, innovation and reputation.

In terms of profits, almost three-quarters of companies that tracked gender diversity in management positions reported increases of between five and 20 per cent, while the majority saw 10 to 15 per cent growth.

In addition to higher profits, report author Jae-Hee Chang also underlined that having more women in the boardroom also led to more female managers at the entry, medium and senior level.

Despite these positive findings, less than a third of company boards globally have at least 30 per cent female participation – the “critical mass” where the positive effects on the bottom line of more women in senior management begin to kick in, according to ILO. “What happens at the very top leadership does trickle down,” she said. “It does have an association and connection to business performance.”

“It’s clear there are still fewer women in those type of (senior) roles than in the workforce as a whole, and the higher you go in the chain of command in a company… the less likely you are to find a woman”, said Deborah France-Massin, Director of the ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities.

At a national level, the UN report also found a correlation between more female employees and increased production, based on data from 186 countries from 1991-2017.

“We expected to see a positive correlation between gender diversity and business success, but these results are eye-opening”, Ms. France-Massin explained. “When you consider the efforts companies make in other areas to get just an extra two or three per cent in profits, the significance is clear: companies should look at gender balance as a bottom line issue, not just a human resource issue.”

Despite the “conscious and unconscious bias” today that prevents women from being exposed to the full range of tasks in businesses that help to ensure career progression, there is some evidence that this discrimination is being addressed, Ms. France-Massin insisted.

This is in part owing to increased education levels that are gradually creating a larger number of talented girls everywhere, she said, before warning gender discrimination in the workplace was potentially a bigger problem than previously thought.

It “goes above and beyond the workplace,” she said. “Workplaces are a microcosm of the societies we are operating in and the culture we are born into. Companies can do so much, but it’s also about societal change and the role of women in society and the acceptance that as the workplace progresses, companies need talent to move forward, and some of those barriers that used to be there need breaking down even further.”

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The ECB tells Berlin that a Germanic Eurozone is unacceptable and doesn’t work

Fear casts again a cold, ugly shadow over Europe; Turkey sides with Russia

These technologies are playing a major role at the Cricket World Cup

Stolen colonial-era objects will be ‘unconditionally’ returned, says the Netherlands

MEPs call on Russia to stop illegitimate prosecution of Lithuanian judges

Climate emergency: City mayors are ‘world’s first responders’, says UN chief

New poll shows what people think coronavirus will do to their economies

The four top Americans who flew to Europe perplexed things about Trump’s intentions

2019 ‘a critical year’ for Somali politics and development says Security Council

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

Building a European Health Union: Stronger crisis preparedness and response for Europe

Member States’ compliance with EU law in 2018: efforts are paying off, but improvements still needed

Hungary: people born in the 2020s won’t have legal rights any more to buy tobacco

From books to bikes: 4 unexpected gender gaps

Medicines from the sky: how drones can save lives

Unity, regional cooperation and international support needed for Horn of Africa to develop sustainably

2019 European Elections gets backing from professional footballers

Natural hazards don’t always spell disaster: UN risk reduction chief

The two big uncertainties shaping our future

Can the EU afford a trade war with China?

The next 48 hours may change the European Union

Metrics of the Sustainable Developments Goals: Can we trust our data?

Coding in Namibia: UN supports young women’s computing career dreams

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

3 ways digitalization will help end crime

Changing healthcare systems with simple technological solutions

EntEx Organises 5 Summer Schools for Young Entrepreneurs across Europe in June/July 2014

Talent, not technology, is the key to success in a digital future

SMEs and micro firms sinking together with south Eurozone

UN Envoy urges Burundi leaders to ‘seize opportunities for national unity and peace’

Greece lost a month that cannot be found neither in “mini Summits” nor in Berlin

Belgium: keep up reforms to increase employment and productivity growth

Ebola not an international ‘health emergency’ but risks spreading across DR Congo border, warns UN health agency

“Access denied”: the Greek health system under pressure

South Korea: A cherished partner for the EU

Commission considers anti-dumping duty on Chinese solar glass imports

3 ways sustainable supply chains can build better business in a post-COVID world

Commission issues guidance on the participation of third country bidders in the EU procurement market

How regenerative agroforestry could solve the climate crisis

Davos on Climate Change: citizens demanding more actions while CEOs tried to balance profit with sustainability

UN ‘determined to lead by example’ on disability rights: Guterres

3 reasons why consumer demand matters for the post-COVID-19 recovery

Service Engineer Intern – 1991

This is why many young people have no access to proper education

This man is installing 100 trash barriers in Bali’s rivers to stop plastic pollution

FROM THE FIELD: Weeding out Mexico’s unwanted beach invader

Infrastructural and system barriers to Universal Health Coverage: get in my patient’s shoes

This Kenyan company makes fuel from human poo

We must move from egocentric to ecocentric leadership to safeguard our planet

Ukraine turns again to the EU for more money

The Greta effect? Why businesses are more committed to climate action in 2020

World Maritime Day: Commissioner Vălean calls for support and safe return of seafarers

FROM THE FIELD: South Sudan’s green shoots, highlight environmental recovery from war

Why the way of loving closes doors of health?

3 things to know about our Sustainable Development Impact Summit

After this year’s Climate Action Summit, what happens next?

EU Court of Justice invalidates Safe Harbour and the game for thousands US businesses suddenly changes

How tech can lead reskilling in the age of automation

The European Union continues to lead the global fight against climate change

Britain declares trade war on mainland Europe

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s