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Gender Parity At Work Needs To Be "All About The Money" - Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman

I recently joined the Council on Foreign Relations as a Term Member. Like most life-membership organizations that operate out of massive Park Avenue townhouses, the makeup of the membership is predominantly white and male. The Term Member program, I'm told is more diverse, which you can see at their events where a diversity of races and genders is represented in the room (although I have yet to meet a transgender Term Member).

Another positive development at the Council is the programming around the economic benefits of women's workforce participation. Today, I attended a panel on "The Status of Women in the Economy" and every argument for why we need more gender parity at work was presented. I'm not going to repeat all the stats in this blog. Rather, I'll point you to a report that Gayle Tzemach Lemmon and Rachel Vogelstein wrote for the Council that is packed with great data points that I summarized in a previous post.

Among the many points that stuck out today from the "The Status of Women in the Economy" panel, Thomas R. Nides, the Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley and the former United States Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources (basically the COO of the State Department), had the best one. He said that at the end of the day, "it's all about the money". Hiring more women is obviously the moral thing to do, but none of that matters if companies don't understand how women's participation in the workforce improves a company's bottom line. And numerous studies have shown this, including a recent one by the IMF that shows a 5 percent rise in the GDP would result from closing the gender gap in the US (I wrote more about this study in a previous blog post here).

I'm excited about a number of forthcoming studies that frame gender parity through the prism of growth - and not just human rights. Laureina Yee, a partner at McKinsey who leads their "Women in the Workplace" partnership with LeanIn.org teased an upcoming study that will show how much profit margins rise at companies with more women leaders!

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