Around the world and in all areas of life, women are reimagining, redesigning and looking for better ways to make humanity and our planet thrive. As a whole, women’s empowerment will contribute to tackling climate change, ending poverty and helping meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
For example, in many cultures, women make the majority of purchasing decisions in households. Their decisions as consumers can have a direct impact on tackling climate change. Most importantly, we can empower women to take an active role in developing the technologies and frameworks that will create cleaner energy sources and reduce waste. Inspiring women to be active participants—rather than passive observers—will ultimately benefit all of humanity.
For years, scientists have conducted scores of studies to show how men and women differ in their thinking. But these studies were often carried out by specific groups of researchers and scientists, which means biases crept into their results. When it comes to problem-solving, decision-making and communication, men and women approach each in unique ways. However, this doesn’t mean one approach is better than the other, and combining the two will empower us as a species.
With the world’s population becoming more mixed every day, we need to collaborate to move forward. Traditionally, women have often been kept out of the top tiers of virtually every industry. Yet, in this century, a female approach to leadership could be just what we need. Among the many reasons why:
• Women elevate group intelligence and performance. In a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, and Union College, researchers found that having women in a group (the more, the better) elevated the group’s collective intelligence. They attributed this to the fact that women have higher social sensitivity, which leads to better collaboration.
These findings are further supported by a recent report by The Pipeline, which found that companies whose executive boards are one-third female are 10 times more profitable on average than all-male boards—and their performance continues to climb.
• Diversity counters groupthink. Today’s big corporations and government administrations impact millions of lives, and the composition of their leadership teams directly affects how they act (and react) to global issues. Diversity in a team matters because it broadens the group’s way of thinking by presenting it with unique perspectives that come from vastly different backgrounds and experiences. This collaborative approach leads to better and more effective decision-making.
• Social issues are paramount. As a result of the pandemic, organizations have been forced to rethink their traditional goals and integrate agendas that are more focused on social issues. Women’s empathic, socially responsible and ethically conscious approach will increase the attention to these concerns.
• Women are better for the planet. Research also indicates that women appear to be healthier for the planet. A recent study published in Elsevier’s Journal of Corporate Finance found a direct correlation between the number of female board directors in a company and the amount of renewable energy the company consumed. Interestingly enough, this effect was only observed if the number of women on the board was more than one.
• Female education curbs environmental destruction. Climate change and environmental destruction pose a significant threat to poor and developing countries, which, in many cases, disproportionately impact women and girls, who often lack proper access to financial resources and education. By investing in female education in the developing world, we’ll promote better adaptation to the changing climate and reduce the world’s pollution.
So, how do we start? Research at FemPeak’s Think Tank for Women in Business and Technology has taught us that we need to develop an ecosystem of support for women in the following areas:
1. Building confidence
2. Technological skills and knowledge
3. Financial literacy and wealth generation
4. Business and entrepreneurial skills
5. Women’s health
6. Family and relationships
Women think differently, and these differences will help us collaborate more effectively as a species. Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is fundamental in making our shared planet a sustainable place.