There is also growing evidence of a correlation between corporate leadership diversity and profitability.
Among S&P 500 companies headquartered in California, those with 30% or more women board directors had 29% higher revenue than those with less than 30% female board directors, according to new research published in May by the California Partners Project. Companies with more gender and ethnic diversity among board directors also delivered higher year-over-year revenue growth than those with all-male, all-white boards.
The California courts have struck down two state laws mandating greater diversity on public company boards, but most experts agree the steady march toward gender equity will continue.
"Some of the improvements that have been made in terms of processes around bringing on new diverse talent – those processes aren't going to go away," said Marchand Orme. "People have made new habits on boards to consider more diverse candidates so I think that's certainly a plus."
Having more women in leadership and on boards — who have the experience of being female and climbing the corporate ladder — is critically important to addressing the challenges women face throughout the workforce, but that mandate should not solely fall on their shoulders, said Marchand Orme.
"It's also important that companies don't solely look to women to lead on these issues," she said. "Those are things that, certainly, women can speak to, but that the full leadership within the company should really be invested in."
Find out more about the companies Just Capital recognizes as leading the way on board gender diversity here.
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