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In August we celebrate women, and that’s the reason we feature a selection of diverse and amazing women in our cover profiles this month.
A survey has shown that women hold only about 5% of the Fortune 1000 CEO positions – this despite research that shows that an increase in women leadership is helping businesses to thrive in unprecedented ways. A study published by the University of California also revealed that companies with some women at the top performed considerably better than ones with mostly male boards and executives. Many studies also found a correlation between the financial performance of companies and gender diversity at the top. Research carried out by McKinsey highlighted the importance of the characteristics that women leaders bring to organisational health. Women possess certain unique qualities that make them strong managers and often even better managers than their male counterparts – this has been proven by a Gallup Report based on over four decades of research, including an analysis of 27 million employees’ responses.
But unfortunately, the number of women in management positions doesn’t reflect this as yet. A study by done by EY and titled ‘Women: The next emerging market’ stated that over the next decade, the impact of women on the global economy – as producers, entrepreneurs, employees and consumers – will be as significant as that of China’s and India’s one-billion-plus populations, if not more. Tapping into women’s economic potential would therefore be the equivalent of having an additional one billion individuals in business and in the workforce, contributing to the global economy and stimulating growth, the study found.
So, while notable progress has been made towards gender equality in many ways, much more remains to be done to open the playing field to women’s equal participation in business, society and the economy.
Change cannot only be made at corporate level but must also happen at grassroots level. That is why there is such a great need for social and organisational change. When we educate girls, when we invest in their potential, the good they can do is limitless.
So, here’s to seeing the number of educated girls increase and the number of women in management positions growing exponentially over the next few years – the local and global economy can only benefit. Also in this issue, from page 44 we get to know our Top 35-under-35 finalists. All of them are phenomenal young people that boast exceptional achievements and are changing their communities for the better. Read, learn and be inspired by them: our future is in safe hands!