Having more women in upper management at major companies has a positive effect on achieving sustainability, according to new research by Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU).
The study, conducted by Valentin Kiefner and Alexander Mohr from WU’s Institute for International Business and Christian Schumacher from Copenhagen Business School, examined how much of an effect the proportion of women has on a company’s support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
They found a positive link between a high number of women in upper management and a company’s willingness to have more sustainable practices.
The researchers add that multinationals with a high international diversification, based on the sales of the company in different geographic regions, are even more likely to be able to enhance their support of the SDGs through an increase in the share of female executives.
“The reason for this is because women not only seem to be intrinsically more interested in sustainability goals, but also because they are subject to higher expectations from external stakeholders due to stereotypical perceptions of women in management,” says Professor Mohr.
Although gender equality is a central goal in itself, the findings suggest that gender equality on management teams may also help to achieve other SDGs, further increasing the importance of gender equality for multinationals.
The research was published in the journal of World Business.