Why we need gender parity on boards

8 March 2022

At YWCA Canberra, we care deeply about gender equality and empowering women to feel confident and equipped to take on leadership roles in their communities. We understand the unique strengths that women bring to the table, and support gender parity across all workplaces.  

One way to achieve this is by ensuring that organisations have women on their boards to help influence decision-making practices and policies.  

Today we’ll be sharing with you three benefits of having women on your boards and addressing why organisations should prioritise gender parity.  

It increases diversity in the workplace.  

The makeup of a board plays an integral part in how a workplace operates and functions. By inviting women to the table, you promote a better understanding of how to approach decision making practices while taking into consideration a broad spectrum of ideas, experiences and opinions that better reflect the workforce and society.  

It reduces overconfidence and group think  

According to the Harvard Business Review, having female board members helps temper the overconfidence of male CEOs and improves overall decision making for the company. Research has found that female board representation helps to reduce the negative impact of crisis on firm performance, with female board directors less likely to adopt aggressive strategies that made their firms more vulnerable to the crisis. 

Increases overall innovation and creativity  

In addition to generating more ideas and perspective, diverse boards also increase overall innovation and creativity. According to Catalyst, research reveals that companies that establish inclusive business cultures and policies, are more likely to experience:  

  • 59.1% increase in creativity, innovation, and openness. 
  • 37.9% better assessment of consumer interest and demand. 
  • 59.1% increase in creativity, innovation, and openness. 
  • 37.9% better assessment of consumer interest and demand. 

Furthermore, it was found that over a period of three years, companies with higher diversity in management earned 38% more of their revenues, on average, from innovative products and services than those companies with lower diversity. 

While we acknowledge the value women bring to boards, it’s also important to consider that one factor of diversity cannot and should not be the industry standard. Companies must consider applying an intersectional lens when deciding who to hire in leadership positions to produce more diverse and equitable outcomes for all.  

Want to find out how you can make your board more diverse?  

Check out our Bringing on Board guide.  

Bringing on Board is a guide to help you establish a diverse board through a traineeship program. Based on our experience through the YWCA Canberra Board Traineeship Program, this guide will help other organisations implement such programs to support representation in Australian boardrooms, with a resultant broader spectrum of ideas, experiences, and opinions.  


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