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Femina Index: Betting on Gender Diversity is a profitable SRI Strategy (Michel Ferrary, Corporate Finance Review, 08/2013)

2013CMJFeminaIndexFerrary.pngGender diversity is one of the main issues faced by corporations with regard to social responsibility.

In this paper, Michel Ferrary, a professor in leadership, human resources management , and organization at HEC Geneva (University of Geneva) and an affiliated scholar at Skema Business School in France, tries to answer the following question:  Do gender-diversified firms perform better or worse than the market?

"Gender diversity is one of the main issues faced by corporations in regard to social responsibility. All industr ies are concerned, and this quest ion is pertinent to half of the human population. Finding any evidence that gender diversity might contribute to a firm’s performance and stock price would be a strong lever in the endeavor to promote equal employment opportunity and to support SRI (Socially Responsible Investment).
Several financial analysts and scholars have already explored the gender diversity-performance relationship. Existing researches mainly analyze the relationship between the firm’s performance (growth, profitability, and stock price) and the propor t ion of women on the board of directors or on the executive committee. The focus on diversity at the top level is justified by arguing that strategic decisions determining the firm’s performance are taken at this level. However, exi s t ing research did not repor t any clear evidence in regards to the gender diversity-performance relationship. Conclusions are generally cautious. They mainly imply that no negative or positive relationship exists between gender diversity at the top level of firms and performance. They also emphasize that nothing can be robustly stated from a stat ist ical point of view.
These narrow conclusions are related to two methodological limitations. .../..."

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