Gender diversity in the team refers to the balance of genders. While the diversity-inclusive context in work environment leads to a diversity of thought and skills, on the other end of the spectrum, there are imbalances that create risks in terms of business disruption by:
- affecting team productivity negatively
- running high cost for economic growth
- depriving women of leadership opportunities.
Risks of single-gender presentation in teams
Showing ignorance when it comes to gender diversity as the component of the business policy leads to compromising performance standards. Single-gender presentation in team structure impoverishes the possibilities of growth and decreases effectiveness.
Alternatively, teams with a balanced gender proportion:
- tend to have more balanced relationships
- show to be less vulnerable to enforced changes
- meet deadlines on a timely basis easier.
According to Catalyst , women's employment shows positive dynamics though the question of women's landing in leadership positions still leaves big room for improvement.
Gender is not the only proxy of diversity but the balance of gender presentation in the team is strongly associated with improved performance. Leveraging cognitive diversity upon inclusion various genders in one team not only empowers team members collectively but makes a direct impact on the scope of searched solutions within team collaboration.
The paradox of qualifications and careers
Women obtain more than 50% of degrees in Business and Law but when it comes to presentation in the board of directors, the number of women shows a shockingly small proportion. The current situation paints a bleak picture: according to the Gender Diversity Index Report , only 7% of women hold the top positions in Chairs of Boards.
Most of times, the problem roots in lack of tolerance: any hint of dominant personality in a woman might be a reason for labeling the employee not a culture fit for the all-male management team.
This kind of disproportion creates a rippling effect that explains other mismatching gender presentation phenomena.
Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.
Despite the self-evident benefits of gender equality, unfortunately, they don't find adequate reflection on narrowing the gender gap in contribution to economic growth. According to IMF observations:
... even though five advanced economies have a gender gap of 5 percentage points or lower, the average gap for advanced economies remains at 10 percentage points.
While trends in the workforce indicate acceptance of more diverse and inclusive environment, there's still a lack of representation, specifically when it comes to gender diversity. For example, research in cybersecurity industry shows that men are:
- Paid 6% more than women
- Experience 240% less discriminatory treatment than females.
Overall, the practice of gender diversity has not brought zero intolerance to discrimination or dramatic improvements in the job market yet. In particular, the sectors marked with dominance in male employees over females are mostly in computing and engineering industries making it difficult for women to find a way in although studies prove positive effects of gender diversity on team productivity and business innovation in these particular fields.
Ironically, the company that claimed to have closed the gender-equity gap, has been recently sued by its female employee for repeated breach of gender parity norms.
It seems that changes on the level of the C-suite and across Boards can bring fruitful results when we see the implementation of gender diversity improvements on the level of teams.
Gender Diversity is a business issue
The lack of diversity blocks inclusion and belonging, thus, excluding the idea of growth from business strategy. Therefore, diversity as the foundational value is an opportunity of systematic change rather than a phenomenon of social justice and, thus, must be regarded with the same care as any other business issue similar to employees' safety, time tracking metrics and productivity.
At present, women hold the leading positions in accounting and HR and set the standards for other departments that can use this experience for shifting gender diversity proclamations to the level of practicing it as the norm.
Gender diversity benefits for team productivity
Why do we have to create workplaces that never miss the mark on validating the diversity initiatives?
The guiding principles for productive team are:
- focus on people’s interest
- adequate feedback.
Evidently, implementing gender balance improvements in the team can amplify the mentioned guidelines and make a greater the impact on productivity because a diverse team channels the project purpose more clearly. Diversity assists in bringing a wider breadth of knowledge into practice and lets team members articulate the meaning of the work they do on a deeper level.
If we quantify the value of diversity we will see inspiring results. The research that looked into it across multiple industries showed: in 1,069 leading public companies presenting 35 countries and 24 industries, gender diversity significantly benefits a firm’s market valuation and increases revenue by 15% compared to respective industry medians.
The intention of creating a gender diverse business environment is to increase productivity and assist the team in goal achievement through making a more personalized approach possible.
Additionally, gender-diverse teams greatly contribute to overall business success with realizing multiple strategies more effectively compared to single-gender teams. In particular, they prove to be a success in building strategies aimed at coping with stress (especially under the terms of high uncertainty we experience globally) with focus on:
- problem-targeting coping
- compassion-based coping.
Implementing gender equity in the team management unlocks multiple opportunities to promote team collaboration to a new lever and make a positive impact on business outcomes:
✅ Most job candidates are more willing to fill in the announced vacancy if the offer includes the diverse environment. It means that a diverse team creates an attractive image for the company and for prospective talents.
✅ With making diversity a center point of team structure, leaders encourage cognitive diversity and a wider exchange of ideas that result in greater creativity.
✅ The presence of gender expert can be highly helpful in making projects more competitive and accomplished. In particular, once the female presence in the group of experts changed the concept of post-war Kosovo development project by pointing out too big distance between the streetlights that would make the streets more dangerous, especially for women.
Broadly speaking, this example is a perfect illustration of how vital it is to consider end-users of different genders, and, thus, include in the team those who are best-equipped with delivering the right message.
Incorporating gender diversity into office culture will pave way to accepting other aspects of diversity (age, color, social-economic status) and cultural and environmental feeling of belonging of all the diverse talent.
And after all, gender diverse team is a representation of reality of the gender diverse world. Ignoring this simple fact, you run a higher risk of alienation and burning out.
Unlocking the benefits
Adopting a gender diversity helps you build better relationships in the team and increase the trust levels among colleagues while establishing an environment where the team members feel comfortable.
Unhappy or disengaged employees cost companies billions of dollars in lost revenues and productivity damages. Single-gender representation may have troublesome side effects like decreased productivity because a lack of diversity causes inflexibility.
In a best-case scenario, single-gender teams manage to channel their energy into doing work while cutting themselves when situations might be conflicting. But it requires too much effort and causes to the loss of time and resources. We are not saying that gender diverse teams are 100% conflict proof but still, being more socially skillful, they demonstrate better resilience and flexibility.
If you do not want your team to be terrorized by the tyranny of rigid thinking, create a gender diverse team laying foundations for a healthy team climate, which is vital for maintaining employees' work life balance and more accountability of their work time. Your diverse team can be your greatest asset but it all depends on how you make diversity your core value.
If the company employees' policies and, more importantly, practices don't address issues of gender imbalance, it might signal of the necessity to review the existing procedures.
Eliminating gender disproportion in the team make a positive impact on team productivity:
- ‘diversifying the team’ ignites cognitive diversity
- gender diversity creates stabilizing effect in team relations
- diversity helps reduce team vulnerability
- diversity assists in decreasing of friction within interpersonal relations
- gender diversity increases team resilience
- gender balance strengthens team's emotional immune system.
No gender diversity leads to more rigidity in relationships among coworkers forcing higher turnover and less productivity. The alternative is to be diverse to create a more creative, energetic, and optimistic team that sources growth of the business.
With diversity and amalgamation of policies and practices, you establish team interaction based on innovation and flexibility letting new high performing standards to emerge.