According to a new report released Monday by Catalyst Inc., a nonprofit research and advisory organization, "Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women board directors attained significantly higher financial performance, on average, than those with the lowest representation of women board directors."

The report looked at financial performance in three areas:

* Return on Equity: On average, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 53 percent.

* Return on Sales: On average, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 42 percent.

* Return on Invested Capital: On average, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 66 percent.

Multiple women board directors may mean even greater success; the report found, on average, notably stronger-than-average performance at companies with three or more women board directors.

"Clearly, financial measures excel where women serve on corporate boards," said Ilene H. Lang, president of Catalyst. "This Catalyst study again demonstrates the very strong correlation between corporate financial performance and gender diversity. We know that diversity, well managed, produces better results. And smart companies appreciate that diversifying their boards with women can lead to more
independence, innovation, and good governance and maximize their company’s performance."

The full report, The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representations on Boards, is available here (PDF). The study is sponsored by the Chubb Corporation.

Christine

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