Carla Guererra, founder and CEO of Purpose Driven Development, Planning and Strategy, and member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), drops a startling statistic in a new blog post on the ULI website:

In a global survey of 279 companies in 2010, McKinsey found that those companies with the greatest proportion of women in their executive committees earned a return on equity of 47% higher than those without female members.

It’s a simple message — more women equals more money.

And it’s one of a few themes covered in our latest Price Talks podcast chat with Carla and fellow ULI British Columbia members Kate Lambert and Paige Ritchie, all three of whom are founding members of ULI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), which seeks to increase and promote the advancement of women as leaders in the real estate industry, shine the spotlight on prominent and emerging leaders, and support women at all stages of their careers with leadership training and resources, education and networking opportunities.

Back to that statistic — beyond a message, it’s an insight supported by other, similar peer-reviewed studies (such as this one from Peterson Institute for International Economics). The value of women in workplaces is borne out by the numbers, whether it’s a long-standing truism we’ve only recently discovered, or a trend made true via contemporary demographic change.

Yet, according to Guererra, despite the weight of this empirical evidence, we have not seen the requisite change one would expect in the private sector in the intervening decade, and certainly not in the context of city building and real estate development.

In a 2018 report by McKinsey & Co and LeanIn.org called Women in the Workplace, the proportion of women in leadership has barely budged in the past decade despite year after year those same companies reporting that they are highly committed to gender diversity.

So – increase shareholder value and returns? Yes. Rely on performance metrics and reporting? Of course. Actively train, recruit and elevate more women? Um…

Clearly the system is broken. It’s failing women. It’s failing companies. And it’s failing shareholders.

Read Guererra’s full post here.

And don’t miss Gord’s discussion with Carla, Kate and Paige in episode 18 of Price Talks, about the ULI Women’s Leadership Initiative.

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