THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Staring down the BULL k, here I go again, the research is still clear, as in the movie A Few Good Men, crystal clear so why are we not making more progress. According to McKinsey, companies across all sectors with the most women on their boards of directors significantly and consistently outperform those with no female representation – by 41 per cent in terms of return on equity and by 56 per cent in terms of operating results. Likewise, in the Fortune 500, Catalyst studies reveal companies in the highest percentile of women on their boards outperformed those in the lowest percentile by 53 per cent higher return on equity, 42 per centhigher return on sales, and 66 per cent higher return on invested capital. Furthermore, a recent Danish study found that companies with good numbers of women on the board outperformed those with no women by 17 per cent higher return on sales and 54 per cent higher return on invested capital. A young girl stares down the famous Wall Street charging bull on International Women's Day. It's intended to highlight the gender disparity of senior level roles at US financial firms; 85 per cent of financial advisors on Wall Street are men. The sculpture installed temporarily in New York to champion gender diversity is so popular that thousands have signed a petition demanding it remain permanently. Called "Fearless Girl" and created by American artist Kristen Visbal, the bronze girl stands with hands on hips and chin jutting out, challenging the famous "Charging Bull" statue that is a symbol of Wall Street. Unfortunately on this side of the pond the resignation of Charlotte Hogg from the Bank of England (BoE)will leave it with no female deputy governors and, come the summer, only one woman on its three main policymaking committees. The BoE styles itself as “reflecting the diversity of the United Kingdom” and has improved its gender and ethnic minority employment record at junior levels in recent years. Among its most senior policymaking staff, however, it has slipped back. Having also failed to hit a key gender diversity target Mark Carney introduced when he became governor four years ago — 50 per cent for women at management level and 35 per cent of senior managers by 2017 — the loss of its Roseann Kelly, Chief Executive of Women in Business, discusses the proven advantages of adding more women to your board O 20 www.businessfirstonline.co.uk most senior female official will add to the sense of an organisation still in need of modernisation. When she leaves there will be no women on the 11member Financial Policy Committee, which seeks to ensure financial stability; one woman on the 12member Prudential Regulation Committee, which regulates banks; and after Kristin Forbes’ departure in June, no women on the ninemember Monetary Policy Committee, which sets interest rates. Following the recent Women in Business Inaugural Female Entrepreneurs Conference, where 240 business women, discussed business challenges and successes, talked finance and social media, networked and supported each other in order start and to grow their business I was delighted to see a comment on a recent Facebook post. The post featured Mark Zuckerberg’s recent talk to students at North Carolina A&T and his response to a question on the lack of diversity in the tech world. “Frankly, I think that’s our problem to figure out,” he replied. A woman responded on Facebook, “I think we should just have our own companies and stop asking to be a part of their world”. What do you think, should we all, women and men alike just walk away from the BULL? I don’t think we should be leaving it to the next generation; let’s start now to create a new economy. QUOTABLEQUOTE A recent Danish study found that companies with good numbers of women on the board outperformed those with no women by 17 per cent higher return on sales and 54 per cent higher return on invested capital.