Caution: Rant Ahead.
So Mitt Romney has “binders full of women” to choose from for executive positions, or at least he did, but apparently he and everyone else with such an arsenal never gets around to opening those binders. I know it’s no fun to do homework, but if anyone bothered to look into those binders to find anything other than recipes for tuna casserole prepared June Cleaver style, they might find all those jobs they have been looking for.
Note to self: if you go to Office Depot to buy binders full of women, will they cost 77% less than binders full of men?
Back to my point, in Dow Jones’ recent study called “Women at the Wheel,” (the full study can be found here) researchers found:
- The overall median proportion of female executives is 7.1% at successful companies and 3.1% at unsuccessful companies, demonstrating the value that having more females can potentially bring to a management team.
- A company’s odds for success (versus non-success) increase with more female executives at the VP and director levels.
- For start-ups with five or more females, 61% were successful and only 39% failed.
Similarly, as Kay Koplovitz reports in a Huffington Post article, companies with women board members also perform better. Koplovitz cites several studies that show more women on corporate boards results in better financial outcomes for companies. According to studies she cites from The SAIS Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom and The NYSE Moving the Needle Event, corporate boards with three or more women on average have :
- 53 percent higher return on Equity
- 42 percent higher return on Sales
- 66 percent higher return on Invested Capital
Adding to the fuel, 40 years ago, women owned just 5% of all small businesses. Today, women own 30%, a total of 7.8 million small businesses generating $1.2 trillion a year in sales. Between 1997 and 2007, women-owned companies in the U.S. grew at nearly twice the rate of all US privately held firms, adding roughly 500,000 jobs while other companies lost jobs.
And furthermore, in an election year where it is supposedly all about economic recovery and how the other guy, whoever that turns out to be, ain’t gonna make it happen, it is worth noting that a recent Credit Suisse Research Institute report found that those firms dominated by men had recovered more slowly since the 2008 financial downturn than those with a more balanced male-female ratio. Can I get an A-women? (instead of an A-men…keep up with me now).
Despite this, and despite the fact that women receive more than 50% of college degrees awarded, we live in an economy where:
- 16 percent of Fortune 500 board seats are held by women
- 1.3% of privately held companies have a female founder
- 6.5% of privately held companies have a female CEO, and 20% have one or more female C-level executives
- 4% of Fortune 1000 companies have female CEOs
- 9% of venture capitalists are women
- Women are launching companies at a rate 1.5 times higher than the national average, but they receive less than 10 percent of venture funding.
And yes, women still make up more than 50% of the U.S. population, so these numbers are, to quote Eric Cartman, “Dude, totally weak.”
I have written lately that it is “getting better” and that more women, particularly in healthcare, are finding ways to start and run companies. But the discourse about women and the economy during the recent political campaigns is appalling in my view. We are hearing candidates talk about whether women should have access to birth control and whether they should get equal pay and whether women can get off of work early to make dinner (ps-I’m happy to work late so someone else can have a turn at dinner) and God knows what else when we should be talking about what all people who give a damn about the economy (according to my sources, those people include men) should be doing to encourage across-the-board equality of any kind that results in job creation, value-creation and economic recovery. If we find out that ground squirrels create a better return on public equity, we should pay them the same as men too and be happy to do it. Why are we still talking about this topic with controversy in 2012? If we keep doing so we will soon be talking about whether we are still a world economic power. Dude, totally weak.
*once upon a time, political consultant James Carville characterized the 1992 presidential election by saying it was about “The Economy, Stupid.” My title is intended to say exactly the same thing.