SUNDAY TIMES - Bosses take note‚ it pays to have women in senior positions
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Sunday Times Business By Sipho Masombuka, 2016-03-12 00:00:00.0

Bosses take note‚ it pays to have women in senior positions


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It certainly pays for companies to have more women in senior executive positions and the numbers are there to prove it.

Findings of a study released in December and conducted in the United States by Morgan Stanley Capital Investment Incorporated (MSCI)‚ a US-based independent provider of insights and tools for institutional investors‚ found that a company with more women on its board of directors can generate 36% higher return on equity.

Christelle Colman‚ chief executive of MUA Insurance Acceptances‚ said the study showed that having equal gender representation in key positions had higher investment returns than when men outnumber women in senior positions.

She said South African companies lagged far behind in appointing women in top positions despite good gender equity policies in place and the Constitution guaranteeing gender equity.

Colman said the 2015 South African Women in Leadership Census report‚ released by the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa‚ showed that only 8.79% of JSE-listed companies have 25% or more female in director positions.

She said many women chose “not to occupy higher positions in the business world due to gender stereotypes which demands that women fulfill all the duties of being the homemaker or that in certain industries they are simply not as capable as a man to fulfill the role”.

Coleman said as with any kind of discrimination‚ gender stereotyping hinders everyone from reaching their goals.

She said it was important for South African businesses to begin to appreciate the value of having women in executive positions.

Women brought a different dynamic to the boardroom and could offer a fresh perspective on how business is conducted‚ Coleman said.

“In order to facilitate further female representation at board level in South Africa‚ companies need to accommodate the differing needs of women. This could be done by having baby stations at workplace or allow mothers to put in more hours of work and leave early to tend to the needs of their families‚” she said.

The Commission for Gender Equality is finalising a report on women representation in key positions both in the public and private sector after conducting hearings across the country.

But spokesperson Javu Baloyi indicated that the report shows the private sector is not doing well while the public sector was getting closer to 50% women representation in key positions.

- TMG Digital/The Times