Sexuality and Gender

Gender Diversity in Leadership

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 06/19/2012

An article in Fast Company titled “Can Tech Companies Continue to Innovate with No Women At the Table?” argues that businesses are harming themselves by not having both men and women on their boards.

Many are concerned about this right now, including Norway, which has passed laws enforcing 40% female boards in companies. Supporters of gender diversity have been quoted as saying, “In my experience, mixed teams, mixed by gender, ethnic background, by age and experience, perform better than homogeneous teams,” and, “[W]hen you start using the half of the talent you have previously ignored, then everybody gains.”

According to those who are concerned (and even protesting), men and women are different, and their perspectives are unique and necessary to an institution’s successful leadership. Here’s what Fast Company has to say against those who don’t have gender diversity:

  • Diversifying boards also brings different perspectives to companies’ big picture objectives, product development, and problem solving. Companies can’t continue to innovate without diverse leaders at the table.

And yet, the boards of one in 10 Fortune 500 companies include no women.

“[S]ince the data also shows that companies with more diversity at the very top achieve better financial results, it’s just as important to bring diverse perspectives to the entire chain of command. It’s good business from every angle”...

Facebook and other tech/social media companies’ decisions to exclude women from the boardroom is disappointing and a setback.

But what if we move from business to another institution? What if we’re talking about marriages that exclude women and the diversity they bring? Then there’s no problem? Nothing is lost? Suddenly men and women are interchangeable? Aren’t the differences in their perspectives and contributions even more relevant when it comes to the relationships within the family—the institution responsible for creating and socializing the next generation? Why is it bigotry to argue for governmental support of diversity on the basis of the differences between men and women in one case, but not the other?

You who support the creation of laws to uphold gender diversity for the sake of businesses, would it be a similar disappointment and setback for families if the laws upholding diversity in marriage were removed?