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Gender inequality a business risk

Apr 28 2015 07:00

Johannesburg - Companies where women accounted for over 15% of senior management achieved an average return on equity of 14.7%, compared with 9.7% by companies where women accounted for fewer than 10% of senior managers.

This is according to a report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (Acca).

According to the report there are many benefits for organisations that choose to embrace this. On the other hand, organisations that lack a gender balance are unrepresentative of the society in which they operate, because women make up roughly half the population.  

"Gender diversity is not a matter that affects one organisation, but it affects the whole economy of the country. If the pool of talent is extended, then the economy stands a better chance of growing than when the pool is limited," Acca said in a statement.

Research studies have found a link between more gender-diverse company boards and better financial performance.

"It is clear that companies that take gender diversity seriously benefit, not because the regulators require this, but because gender diversity affects their bottom-line," said Helen Brand, Acca's chief executive. “[Gender] inequality is a genuine business risk and should be treated as such”.

The finance sector has an important role to play in promoting and supporting diversity initiatives, according to Acca. It would like to see chief financial officers act as role models and use their status to influence the corporate diversity strategies and action by other functions.

"Gender equality in the South African business place still needs major improvements. Though they help, it is not regulations that will bring transformation, but it is organisations that understand the benefits of gender diversity that will reap the most rewards," Brand said.

sa economy  |  transformation  |  gender
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