gender balance can increase innovation

How gender balance can increase innovation

Did you know that gender balance can increase innovation? Usually, most CEO’s mention ethics when justifying gender balance promotion in companies. Yet, hiring women actually goes beyond that. It can make your company more innovative.

Nowadays, the promotion of gender balance is seen as something crucial. Several businesses develop quotas, to try to foster it. The public sector also impacts it, through laws and mechanisms tackling discrimination. Such is usually derived from contemporary values, not business strategy. Yet, recent research defends that gender equality might help business.

The study was conducted by Accenture, who surveyed 18,000 workers. The company had the concern of cultural representativeness, conducting the interviews in 27 countries. Also, its surveys were answered by more than 150 employers in executive positions.

To measure gender gaps, the report analyzed several factors. Examples include gender pay gaps, or maternity leave policies. It assessed diversity in the leadership of companies, too. This last aspect is quite important. Few things showcase diversity as well as open paths for leadership, regarding women.

It turns out that innovation is six times higher in diverse workplaces. In the most “gender balanced” companies, 40% of workers said nothing stopped them from innovating. The numbers for unequal businesses were radically different: 7% were free to innovate. This is important, particularly knowing that 95% of managers see innovation as important. These usually try to incentivize all employees to innovate.

This report complements previous research defending that gender balance can increase innovation. Studies from Copenhagen’s Business School had already shown that female managers are related to innovation. More specifically, management teams composed by at least 30% of women launch more innovative products.

The above study was especially interesting in one aspect: percentage of female managers. Researchers found that companies were more innovative only when there were enough women in management positions. If there was only one female manager, for example, innovation decreased. This was because the latter could find it hard to fight opposition, when implementing changes.

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