Beyond Bulls & Bears


Dimensions & Insights: “Gender-balanced leadership delivers more opportunities”

Many current investment outlooks include gender-balancing leadership and boardrooms. Chief Diversity Officer Regina Curry gauges the pressure and opportunities for addressing investors’ and regulators’ demands for gender equity and progress. Escalating actions from investors and regulators include increasing commitments for leadership positions and assets toward progressing gender balance.

“Gender-balanced leadership affects a company’s abilities to prepare, adapt, and excel.”
Regina Curry

Many current outlooks for investors and industry regulators include gender-balancing leadership and boardrooms. Skeptics question whether ensuring gender-balanced leadership detracts from company performance, however, much academic and industry research determined that it does not.1 Moreover, opportunities for long-term company performance result with board compositions of at least 30% women:2,3

  • Chief investment officers (CIOs) of leading institutional investment firms said if choosing between two comparable firms, they would allocate twice as much capital to the more gender-diverse private equity firm. These CIOs focus diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) requests on asset managers to advance their DEI goals and public commitments.4,5
  • California State Teachers’ Retirement System, a pension with assets over $300 billion, will escalate proxy votes to achieve board diversity by increasing voting against:6

1) the entire board of directors of companies that do not have at least one woman on the board,

2) directors on a board’s nominating committee if the company does not have at least 30% women board members, and

3) nominating and governance committee members of companies in the Russell 1000 Index that do not disclose the skills and diversity characteristics of their board members.

  • Nasdaq Inc. now requires US companies to meet board diversity objectives by annually disclosing publicly the diversity of their boards and setting minimum targets of at least two gender-diverse board members: one female plus a member of an underrepresented minority group or someone who identifies as LGBTQ+.7 By 2026, this requirement will increase to at least two diverse directors, including one from each diversity group.8
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) engaged banks lacking diversity policies or internal targets for gender diversity at board level in 2022. A third of the banks under ECB supervision did not meet their 2021 targets for gender representation at board level.9
  • Over 400 financial services firms globally now commit to monitoring their gender balance progress with targets, creating benchmarks for company differentiation.10

Gender-balanced leadership affects a company’s abilities to prepare, adapt, and excel. Furthermore, it addresses both investors’ and regulators’ demands for gender equity and progress while delivering more business opportunities and growth.


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1. Source: “Does Gender Diversity on Boards Really Boost Company Performance?” Knowledge at Wharton, School of the University of Pennsylvania, May 18, 2017.

2. Source: “Diversity in the Management of Investments,” California State Teachers Retirement System, 2021 Annual Report, page 12.

3. Source: Undiversified: The Big Gender Short and Investment Management by Ellen Carr and Katrina Dudley, Columbia Business School Publishing, August 2021.

4. Source: “The state of diversity in global private markets: 2022,” McKinsey & Company, November 1, 2022.

5. Source: “Tracking diversity, equity, and inclusion data in private markets,” McKinsey & Company, October 31, 2022.

6. Source: “CalSTRS will escalate proxy votes to achieve board diversity, net zero progress and climate change action,” California State Teachers Retirement System, March 30, 2022.

7. Smaller reporting companies, non-domestic issuers, and companies with five or less directors have comparable gender diversity objectives. All companies that do not meet a board diversity objective must explain why. Source: “Nasdaq’s Board Diversity Rule, What Nasdaq-Listed Companies Should Know,” February 18, 2022.

8. Source: “Nasdaq’s New Board Diversity Rules: What’s the Impact?” MSCI, February 1, 2022.

9. Source: “Supervising banks’ governance: structure, behavior and culture,” Keynote speech by Frank Elderson, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB and Vice-Chair of the Supervisory Board of the ECB, June 11, 2022.

10. Source: Women in Finance Charter list of signatories (June 2022), HM Treasury, United Kingdom.


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