Why the ‘Business Case’ for Hiring More Women isn’t Working

By Sarah Kaplan and Nancy Wilson | The Globe and Mail | March 08, 2019

"As we mark International Women’s Day on Friday, many people – including us – will note that not enough progress has been made on women’s economic inclusion. Many will argue that we need to convince more corporate leaders to support the cause and, to do so, we need to make the business case for investing in diversity. Yet, despite a decade of reports from prominent consulting firms and other organizations making just this case, progress in Canada and around the world has stalled. And this very desire to make the business case might be part of the problem.

It’s not that there aren’t good business reasons for companies to be more diverse and inclusive. But there are two problems with the obsession with the business case logic. First, requiring a business case implies that women and minorities must do better than the (white, straight, male) status quo to gain entry into opportunities. Second, research has found that a business case mindset risks reducing women and minorities to mere inputs to be measured against the financial bottom line. The social goal of diversity is converted into a commodity to be valued, exploited and, perhaps, discarded if the business case doesn’t pan out."

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What is your reaction to the fact that the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women will be chaired by a man?