Starting with an excellent New Yorker magazine profile of SEC Chair Mary Jo White, I wound up at Saturday Night Live.
First, some background on Ms. White:
A tough federal prosecutor and top partner at a prestigious law firm, a fiercely competitive runner and tennis player, a mother and a wife, Mary Jo White was sworn in as SEC chair on April 10, 2013. Working in the private sector she defended Wall Street firms while as a US Attorney she prosecuted them. Now, her past and future converge as she leads the federal agency charged with protecting investors, facilitating capital formation, and insuring the fairness and integrity of the marketplace. (I’ve paraphrased her words.)
Next, a study on Fortune 500 women board members:
Thinking about women in financial leadership positions, I did want to mention a 2011 study from Catalyst on gender diversity for Fortune 500 companies. Called “The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards (2004-2008),” the report cited a correlation between female board membership and better financial performance but emphasized they could not prove a causal connection. I have copied their graphic of the results:
WBD (Women Board Members); ROS (Return on Sales); ROIC (Return on Invested Capital); ROE (Return on Equity)
Our bottom line? Whether looking at the SEC or a Fortune 500 firm or even the absence of Black females at Saturday Night Live, employing women extends your talent pool and your potential for excellence.
Sources and Resources: Lengthy but worth your time, The New Yorker profile conveys a fascinating picture of Mary Jo White and key regulatory issues. For more about the gender gap in the board room, I recommend the Catalyst website and McKinsey’s “Women Matter” papers. Finally, thinking about how underutilizing female human capital diminishes quality and growth, you might find this link to a Slate review and a Saturday Night Live segment relevant.