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Companies do better with women at the helm, says study


Having women on company boards and in senior leadership positions increases a company’s performance, a new report says.

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The report by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) released on Friday says women in corporate leadership adds value over a host of financial indicators.

“We find a strong and convincing causal relationship between increasing the share of women in leadership and subsequent improvements in company performance,” BCEC researchers Rebecca Cassells and Alan Duncan write.

Specifically, adding a female representation on boards of ASX-listed companies leads to a 4.9 per cent increase in market value; having a female CEO leads to a 5.0 per cent increase in market value of ASX-listed companies; and increasing the number of women in leadership positions increases the likelihood of companies outperforming their sector on key profitability and performance metrics.

“This significant report reveals tangible proof of a proposition that our agency has long suspected as true: that having more gender-balanced leadership in an organisation improves the business bottom line,” Workplace Gender Equality Agency director Libby Lyons says in the report.

The report relies upon data that companies have to file under the 2012 Workplace Gender Equality Act.

Only one in 11 ASX200 companies have a female CEO, and only 14.1 per cent of board chair positions were filled by women, the report says.

It says companies without female representation on their board are far more likely to be underperforming than companies with greater female membership on their board.


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