Women Board Members Help Companies Weather Downturn

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Credit Suisse’s recently published report reveals that companies with at least one woman on the board have outperformed those with men only by 26% over the past six years. Interestingly, during the period between 2005 an 2007 when the economy was more robust, there was little difference in performance. The performance gain started in 2008 as economic volatility increased.

The trend reported in the study is also encouraging. In 2005, at the start of the study, only 41% of the global MCI World Index had women on the board. That grew to 59% by the end of 2011.

This begs the question: Why? One factor is the size of the company. Companies with women board members tended to be larger and more established, and thus may be more recession proof. We’d like to believe that having a more diverse board brings different perspectives and stimulates more diverse interaction between the group members, and thus improves collective performance.

Regardless, it’s encouraging. I’m all for creating more opportunity for women to take on positions of power and influence in business — and the world.

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