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How Workplace Diversity Offers a Competitive Advantage

Quartz Editorial Team

Quartz Editorial Team

Women Leadership – Diversity as a Strategic Advantage

Women comprise more than half of today’s labor force, yet statistics show they earn 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. For women of color, that number drops to 63 cents for every dollar earned by a man. 

Azra Jabeen, CFO at Fortive, spoke to Quartz Network to examine the importance of gender equality and highlight the steps businesses can take to empower women.

Break through the Bias

It’s widely known that every person has some level of subconscious bias. The first step towards driving change around gender norms is through acknowledging and combating these thoughts. 

Gender norms contribute towards women believing that they should be stay-at-home parents while their partner works. Societal stereotypes can also hold women back and discourage them from signing up for courses in science, technology, engineering and math.

“The question is: Is it all glass ceiling or is some of it self-imposed?” Jabeen said.

Challenge Status Quo

These ways of thinking could be ingrained from gender stereotypes and lack of support.

“I spoke to a lot of women leaders across the board, and everyone says, ‘Well, I feel scared that I’m going to be found out, or that I’m not good enough for this particular role,’ “ Jabeen explained. 

As a result, this often stops women from reaching the top of the ladder, professionally.

Pave the Way for Change

Jabeen believes women want female role models they can look up to and emulate. Gender diversity in the workplace helps accomplish better results. 

“Having at least two or three women board of directors improves the return on equity of publicly traded companies,” she added.

So what can be done?

Women can start by understanding what they want and going after it with passion and determination. Finding a mentor in the workplace can be key to helping women climb the ladder. 

Anyone who’s hungry and has shared with you that she wants to go for the higher rung in the ladder, these are the people who are asking for your advocacy and asking for your coaching. So please make yourself available for that

Azra Jabeen, CFO at Fortive

A Diverse Workplace Delivers Competitive Advantages

Female leaders that recognize potential in another female coworker should champion for them to be considered for roles they may normally be overlooked for. It’s vital that female employees are recognized for their work and considered for roles from which they may have been traditionally excluded. 

When more women are seen in high-level roles, it can inspire other female employees to work towards a similar goal. 

“It’s important to celebrate the successful women in our society,” Jabeen said.


Watch the presentation for more ways gender equality in the workplace leads to better business outcomes.