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Good Housekeeping
Charlene J. Owen, Contributor
November 25, 2012

Women in the Boardroom Improve Corporate Sustainability

Don't lose sight of that dream to become the boss, as a new study reveals that you may be just what the company needs. By Charlene J. Owen

 Many say that there’s nothing like a woman’s touch, and it proves to be true-- especially in a corporate setting where women hold the reins of multinational giants.

In a study featured on, Adj. Asst. Prof. Kellie McElhaney from the Center for Responsible Business at the University of California,  Berkley’s Haas School of Business, has pointed out that women as members of the board improve environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of any company. 

Co-authored by PhD candidate Sanaz Mobasseri, the study measured data from Fortune 1500 companies since 1992. The research team reviewed ESG performances: from environmental efforts that involved energy-saving operations and earth-friendly packaging and products, to social factors such as employee benefits and community-serving projects, and finally, governance strategies that denounce bribery and promote transparency. 

“Companies with at least three female board members had a better ESG performance but we’re talking about very few companies who meet this threshold--just three of the 1,500 we studied: Kimberly-Clark, General Motors, and Walmart,” McElhaney notes.

Companies and other organizations should begin to recognize that it’s not totally an issue of gender equality, as it is an issue of sustainability. More women should also start believing in their own power of management, and that their skills are truly needed to run economic and government systems. Remember, you don’t need to don pinstriped blazers and pencil cut skirts to prove your worth and make a difference-- just listen to your inner voice, believe in what you can do, and all else will follow.

(Photo by Victor1558 via Flickr Creative Commons)


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