Companies pondering the incentives for increased gender diversity in their executive ranks may need to look no further than the bottom line.
Having women in the highest corporate offices is correlated with increased profitability, according to a new study of nearly 22,000 publicly traded companies in 91 countries.
The study, released Monday by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a nonprofit group based in Washington, and EY, the audit firm formerly known as Ernst & Young, found that despite the apparent economic benefits, many corporations are lacking in gender diversity.
Almost 60 percent of the companies reviewed had no female board members, and more than 50 percent had no female executives. Just under 5 percent had a female chief executive.
The study found that female C.E.O.s did not significantly underperform or overperform when compared with male chief executives. While it found some indications that having more women on boards was correlated with higher profitability, Marcus Noland, the institute’s director of studies, said that “in statistical terms that evidence is not robust.”
But the data was clear about women in top management positions. An increase in the share of women from zero to 30 percent would be associated with a 15 percent rise in profitability, Mr. Noland said.
And just for the record, the Peterson Institute, the think tank that conducted the above-mentioned study, does not have and never has had a woman leader.
Here is a recent Think Tank Watch piece about women rating their think tanks poorly.