Dr. Christine Ho, CEO and Co-Founder of Imprint Energy, reports on the importance and advantages of diversity.
We’re all aware that women are underrepresented in the STEM field.
Many of us live that reality on a day-to-day basis.
There’s no question that as gender representation and equality in STEM improves, everyone stands to benefit.
A Kauffman study found that companies with multiple women in executive positions were much more diverse – and not just in terms of gender equality. These companies were also significantly more ethnically diverse from top to bottom. Companies with multiple female executives had more ethnically diverse employees, executives and board members. Startups with at least one female founder hire 2.5X more women. A company with a female founder and a female CEO will hire 6X more women, and female venture capitalists invest in up to twice the number of ventures led by female founders in comparison to their male VC counterparts.
Diverse companies perform better: a Mckinsey and Co. study found that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21% more likely to outperform on profitability.”
Businesses’ bottom lines, and more importantly, individuals, benefit when we #BreakTheBias.
It’s not a coincidence. Women know the value in having a tapestry of diverse mindsets. Diversity contributes to creativity, productivity and innovation.
Breaking the bias and fostering diversity a requires conscious effort. We must cultivate a sense of belonging for other women. We must provide training and development opportunities for women, acknowledge women’s competence and skills, encourage upward advancement for women, and shine light on situations that hinder these objectives. A holistic, structured path for advancement benefits all of us. In turn, the companies we work for and the people we work with benefit. Mandating that the teams that first start companies be diverse from the get-go sets up a foundation of companies that will grow to be diverse and in turn, more successful. We can fundamentally shift the balance of women in STEM companies by making sure that the day they are founded, they start off diverse.
As a female entrepreneur and CEO in STEM, I spend my time in the male-dominated energy industry where women account for less than 22% of the work force. I’m in the minority as an entrepreneur — women run less than 14% of U.S. startups. I used to think that blending in with my peers was my only pathway to success. But eventually I realized my differences and their value are what makes me and my company, Imprint Energy, successful. Our difference is our strength. It helps us to stand out. So, at Imprint, we encourage each other to embrace our differences, to strive to be the exception, not conform to the rules. This company value has allowed us to attract people to our company that are exceptional.
That’s how I continue to #BreakTheBias. I hope that the day arrives quickly when there are as many women in STEM as men. As we work towards that, I plan on continuing to find ways to embrace diverse points-of-view. Difference means strength. It’s worth celebrating.