Happy International Women's Day: Why Supporting Women is Good Business

International Women's Day

Last week, the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) announced its 2017 list of Top Companies for Executive Women.

A couple of the high points:

  • 32% of these companies have at least five women on their boards
  • 12% have women as CEOs
The news generated a giant, Brava! "At this year's winning companies," read the announcement, "women run billion-dollar lines of business, fill board seats and occupy CEO jobs."

Supporting Women is Good Business

Despite the cheers, there are still cynics who argue the first goal of any talent strategy should be availing oneself of the best people. Which is exactly the point - the above companies are doing exactly that. Women make up a little more than 50 percent of the population. So what happens when you remove them from consideration? You're sacrificing 50% of the available talent pool - and so large numbers of skills for yourself. Conversely, welcoming women broadens your pool substantially.

So what those 60 companies know (and more importantly, act on) is that advancing female success is more than a women's initiative - it's a business initiative; one that ensures use of all available talent. That's not just blowing smoke; a McKinsey study showed that advancing women's equality could add $12 trillion to the global economy.

Women in the C-Suite

Still not convinced? Think competition. Women are also more than half of college students and 40% of MBA graduates. And all those untapped skills are going to go somewhere. If you look at the names (and more importantly, successful reputations) on the NAFE list, you realize these talented employees are going to companies that are using them to their very best advantage. Just as important, they're also providing cultures showing women (and men) that family and work don't have to be mutually exclusive. It's no surprise that one study showed that women in the C-suite upped profitability by about 15%.

As NAFE put it, "When great companies foster cultures that nurture and appreciate professionals of all stripes, their highest ranks can fill up with smart and dedicated leaders who know exactly what customers need."

We heartily agree. And on this International Women's Day, we'd like to say congratulations to all the companies on the list - with an extra "You go" to our clients and all the companies we proudly work with who are changing the way women - and their colleagues - succeed.

Congratulations!

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.