International Women's Day is a chance to recognize women's significant contributions to society and acknowledge the ongoing struggles women face for equality and justice.
Sounds good, right? But…
Too often, demand-driven days, campaigns, and messages such as this miss an opportunity to highlight the overwhelming socio-economic benefits of greater gender equity, improved access to health, and simply investing more in women. These messages risk not speaking to people in positions of power in a way that demonstrates the benefits to them and helps them meet their goals.
Don’t get me wrong, we need demand-driven and rights-based messages, but we also need more people recognizing the power of women at work.
By consciously putting women in the driver's seat at The Beam Network, we produce greater returns for us and society.
The problem we are solving at The Beam Network is that women have long been excluded by the finance industry, built by men for men. So, we created a business that didn't exist for us as women investors. We provide information, community, and training for women to feel complete agency over their philanthropic, financial, and social power. Here are a few of the ways we've made our business model work for women:
1. We're a business that is 100% women-owned, 100% women-led, and run.
2. We're outcomes-based vs. inputs based. Our team can work from wherever they'd like and take the time they need for childcare and family responsibilities. By doing this, we can attract talented women who may be consulting or have taken a parental career break. We also see women over 50 as the valuable, credible, and skilled workers they are – our model works for them, and we benefit from their skills, experience, and knowledge.
3. Our content is designed with women in mind. We focus on topics, issues, and dynamics the finance industry rarely provides.
We’re not alone.
There are many other great examples of businesses who are stepping up, like Salesforce, which has been recognized for its commitment to gender equity, including equal pay for employees of all genders. And there's Patagonia, with its strong commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, including gender equity. Here in the UK, where we are headquartered, the government’s Women in Finance Charter is a pledge for gender balance across financial services, and a commitment by HM Treasury and signatory firms to work together to build a more equitable and fair industry.
Here’s what would happen if all businesses made these shifts:
Increased productivity- Powered by Women: Studies have shown that companies with a higher representation of women in senior leadership tend to be more productive. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, companies with diverse leadership teams are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies with less diverse teams.
Improved financial performance - Powered by Women: Companies that prioritize gender diversity have been shown to have better financial performance. A study by Peterson Institute for International Economics found that companies with at least 30% female executives had a net profit margin of 6 percentage points higher than companies with no women in top leadership positions.
Increased economic growth - Powered by Women: Investing in women's education and employment can significantly impact economic growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that closing the gender gap in labor force participation could increase GDP by as much as 35% in some countries.
Reduced poverty - Powered by Women: Women are more likely to live in poverty than men and investing in women's education and employment can help to reduce poverty rates. According to the World Bank, increasing women's labor force participation could reduce poverty rates by as much as 5 percentage points in some countries.
Improved health outcomes - Powered by Women: Women's economic empowerment can also lead to improved health outcomes for women and their families. According to a report by the UN Development Programme, women's economic empowerment can help to reduce maternal and child mortality rates, improve nutrition, and increase access to healthcare.
This International Women's Day, I hope you'll join us and step out of your comfort zone, break out of the echo chamber, and talk to people who might need a bit more convincing about how progress in their lives is actually Powered By Women.
-Bertha Morales, Co-founder The Beam Network