By Joan Runnheim Olson
The Scottsdale National Gender Diversity Institute provides resources and answers to gender issues in the workplace. Talented women are leaving corporate America. Why are they leaving? Why does it matter? I read an article The Business Case for Gender Diversity written by the Institute where these important questions are answered.
Why are Women Leaving? In a study conducted by Catalyst, the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, participants cited the following four reasons for leaving corporate jobs to start their own businesses:
--The need for more flexibility
--The glass ceiling
--Unhappiness with the work environment
--Lack of challenge
The participants of this study reported the following statements: Their contributions were not recognized or valued. They were not taken seriously. They felt isolated as one of few women or minorities. They were excluded from informal networks. They were excluded from training opportunities. They faced inhospitable corporate cultures.
Why Should Companies be Concerned? Besides the costs associated with turnover and loss of institutional knowledge, companies that pursue and manage gender diversity can see these advantages:
--Better financial results
--Improved access to growing, well-educated segment of the workforce
--Improved market share
The Bottom Line. According to the study, "...the 25 Fortune 500 firms with the best record of promoting women to high positions are between 18 and 69 percent more profitable than the median Fortune 500 firms in their industries." The number of women enrolled in post-secondary educational institutions and the number of women in the workforce exceed that of men. Women are responsible for 83% of all consumer purchases, according to Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach, and Increase Your Share of the World's Largest Market Segment." Another important anecdote, "Women possess a unique combination of interpersonal and work ethic traits that seem tailor-made for the management ranks." The study concludes that both men and women have unique and valuable talents to contribute to organizations. A win-win scenario is one in which gender diversity is valued and opportunities are available to both genders.