In many corporate environments, women are hindered by the glass ceiling. But at least one group of people has recognized that women running the business can be a good thing — and they’re even betting money on it.

Some investors are using the “gender lens” to choose stocks, focusing their efforts on companies operated by women or with products that target women.   A recent article in the Chicago Tribune pointed out many of these investors, some of whom offer the more altruistic purpose of supporting women-run businesses. Others simply point to the research showing far higher returns from such companies.

From the article: “‘When gender-lens stock picking is done the right way, Ellis says, ‘you don’t need to sacrifice financial returns for social returns.’”

Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank has also said the only companies making him money on his investments right now are the ones that are run by women.

According to one study, companies with more women on the board of directors provided returns in three ways: better equity, better sales, and return on invested capital. Yet another study, by DDI and The Conference Board, showed that the companies that perform best financially have the greatest numbers of women in leadership roles.

Studies also show women are consistently ranked higher than men in leadership roles and are overall better leaders.

So why aren’t companies promoting women? Or, why aren’t women reaching for these roles?

Among America’s biggest companies — the Fortune 500 — just 24 are run by female CEOs, only 4.8%. And, as at January 2015, there are still 23 Fortune 500 companies with all-male boards.  Even among smaller companies, fewer are run by women.

Some studies suggest it’s a confidence issue, women afraid to break out of their comfort zone in an arena and economy that requires such moves. Men also tend to be more apt to tout their accomplishments, making it easy to see why they earned a promotion compared to a more humble female counterpart. When starting companies, it may be more difficult for women to find capital. Another reason: perfectionism. Women, apparently, are less willing to surge forward with slight risk.

Of course the blame does not solely lie with women or men. We must both work to recognize differences and find ways to create a more balanced workforce. If nothing else, male business owners should recognize that doing so might improve their bottom line.

What are your thoughts on this spiky subject?  As we embark on our Power, Purpose and Performance Programs, we endeavor to face these realities and place women in their power seat to succeed.

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Lisa Thomas is the CEO of The P3 Group, Inc. and The P3 Group International, LLC, publisher of The P3 Power Boost Online Magazine, host of The P3 Power Boost Radio Show, and President of the Board of Directors of NetWorth. She is a 20-year veteran in business, executive leadership and performance coaching/consulting. She has worked extensive with corporate call centers, executives and small business enterprises. She’s been a featured columnist and business strategist on Affiliate NPR, WFDD, The Cary News, Fox 8 and numerous NBC affiliate stations.

Lisa is best known for her business and leadership acumen and is widely recognized her ability to develop leaders to be more effective. Lisa is also a sought after keynote speaker on various topics women in leadership face. She generously donates her time and expertise to a number of organizations and worthy causes, including NetWorth, the Business Succession Forum Network, and the Hazel B. Neal Foundation, for which she recently was recognized with the woman of Power, Purpose and Vision award. In her downtime, she can be found practicing yoga, cycling, swimming, reading a good book or spending time with family and friends.

Lisa Thomas
CEO/Sr. Business Strategist
The P3 Group, Inc.

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