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Bringing more women into leadership positions in business is good for diversity and equality. NJBIA has maintained that it’s good for business, too, as women have a lot to offer corporate America. Now we have some numbers to show just how beneficial women leaders can be.

According to an MSCI study, companies with strong female leadership generated a return on equity of 10.1 percent per year versus 7.4 percent for those without a critical mass of women at the top. That’s a 36.4 percent increase of average return on equity.

The investment firm State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) is using that statistic to challenge more than 3,500 companies they invest in to take intentional steps to increase the number of women on their corporate boards.

Although there has been some progress made on the inclusion of women on corporate boards, SSGA notes that one out of every four Russell 3000 companies do not have even one woman on their board, and nearly 60 percent have fewer than 15 percent of their boards comprising women directors.

“We believe good corporate governance is a function of strong, effective and independent board leadership,” said Ron O’Hanley, president and chief executive officer of SSGA. “A key contributor to effective independent board leadership is diversity of thought, which requires directors with different skills, backgrounds and expertise. Today, we are calling on companies to take concrete steps to increase gender diversity on their boards and have issued clear guidance to help them begin to take action.”

Learn more about increasing the number of women in the C-suite with NJBIA’s Women Business Leaders Network.