Knowledge Center

The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards (2004–2008)

The business case for women in management contends that companies that achieve diversity and manage it well attain better financial results, on average, than other companies. In this report, Catalyst used three measures to examine financial performance: return on sales (ROS), return on invested capital (ROIC), and return on equity (ROE).

Previous studies in the series found that there is a connection between gender diversity on corporate boards and financial performance. Among others, findings in this report include:

  • Companies with the most women board directors (WBD) outperform those with the least on ROS by 16 percent.

  • Companies with the most WBD outperform those with the least on ROIC by 26 percent.

  • Companies with sustained high representation of WBD, defined as those with three or more WBD in at least four of five years, significantly outperformed those with sustained low representation by 84 percent on ROS, by 60 percent on ROIC, and by 46 percent on ROE.