According to the findings, companies with three women on the board give twenty-eight times more money to charity than companies with no women on the board. Additionally, each additional woman on the board of directors represented an average $2.3 million increase in annual charitable giving.
A company’s touch also became softer and more feminine when women held officer positions; companies with 25% female officers gave 13 times more money to charity than companies with no female corporate officers. Each additional percentage point increase in the proportion of women in officer positions represented a $5.7 million increase in charitable giving.
Now we know what caused the economic downturn: women forcing companies to give away all their profits!
Seriously, though, this is feel-good icing on the gender parity cake; the other benefits to having high-ranking women in your organization have been pointed out before in one of my favorite articles of all time. Women don’t process risk like men process risk (i.e. institutionally stupidly).
It’s true: see this hilarious Business Week article from just before the implosion for a nice reminder of the culture of Wall Street during the bubble. It essentially reads ‘haha we are masters of the universe except some dumb wusses think bad things could happen but we are too smart for that.’ This was the culture; it’s easy to forget after the bailouts and the handouts and everything, but these guys thought they were brilliant masters of finance, and they nearly collapsed the world economy.
People, particularly men, aren’t as good at risk evaluation as they think they are. Psychology Today had a great article about exactly why men are wired to be so much worse at evaluating risk than women: evolution and parental investment costs are to blame. I’ll do the article a disservice by summarizing it; just give it a read.
All of this is to say that I’m in favor of giant corporations giving to charity, and it’s cute that women make the company “nicer” – but the fact is that there are concrete benefits to women being decision-makers in your company. Like your company being around next year. Well, sometimes.