Why Gender Diversity Matters in Business

Businesses all over the world are seeing the value of building a diverse workforce and empowering women as leaders. As more and more organizations embrace the notion of diversification, studies continue to paint a very clear picture:

  • Research from Grant Thornton indicates that the total opportunity cost for companies that exclude women from executive boards throughout the U.S., India and the U.K. is $655 billion dollars.1
  • A recent study of all the top firms in Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500 showed that gender diversity in top management leads to an increase of $42 Million in firm value.2
  • A study conducted by McKinsey and Company in 2015 concluded that gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform industry means.3

More Work to Be Done

While progress has been made over the last several decades toward building a more gender-diverse workforce, we still have a long way to go to reach a truly equitable business landscape. On average in the U.S., women earn 21 percent less than their male counterparts and are still vastly underrepresented in top leadership positions4:

Women in The Workforce

Workforce Representation
Women Executive Officers
Women Fortune 500 CEOs

Developing the necessary tools to overcome the obstacles that have led to such disparities is crucial for personal and organization-wide success today. 

What MBA@Simmons Can Do For You

Develop your leadership skills

MBA@Simmons provides you with a holistic view of modern business, focusing heavily on gender dynamics and workplace diversity. This multi-faceted approach to management education will help you better lead diverse teams, and adapt your skills to any professional setting. We practice leadership in action by focusing on what works in the real world, not just abstract concepts.

Develop as a person and as a professional

Our student-centered program helps you develop your individual strengths and teaches you about the complex and often hidden factors in organizational behavior that influence growth. You’ll walk away with a toolbox of techniques to break through these constraints to continue growing throughout your career.

Network with business leaders

Beyond connecting with expert faculty and fellow professionals in the online classroom, students also have opportunities to network in-person. Students attend two in-person immersions and have the opportunity to volunteer at the Simmons Leadership Conference, considered to be the premier women's leadership conference in the world. The Simmons Leadership Conference attracts over 3,300 mid- and senior-level women professionals from organizations around the globe.

Prominent past speakers include Madeline Albright, Maya Angelou, Benazir Bhutto, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Geena Davis, Viola Davis, America Ferrera, Carly Fiorina, Whoopie Goldberg, Donna Karan, Billie Jean King, Sallie Krawcheck, Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, Janet Reno, Jehan Sadat, Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl WuDunn, and many more.

How We Do It


Since 1996, Simmons’ Center for Gender in Organizations (CGO) has explored the vital link between gender equity and productivity in organizations. The CGO’s research has four focuses: gender equity and change, leadership, diversity, and organizational effectiveness. This research addresses the ways in which deeply embedded cultural assumptions about gender hinder the productivity of individual workers and the performance of organizations as a whole. Much of this research is utilized by global organizations and ties into our MBA curriculum.


Our faculty is comprised of and led predominantly by women who are academic experts and many of whom have decades of experience in top-level positions at internationally recognized organizations. Whereas women constitute only 32 percent of faculty among AACSB-accredited business schools (AACSB), Simmons School of Business boasts a faculty representation of 70 percent women. Faculty members bring their unique perspectives and professional experience to our collaborative online classrooms and help students view traditional business concepts through the lens of gender dynamics to produce more effective, socially responsible leaders.

1Lagerberg, F. (2015, September 29). The Value of Diversity. Retrieved from http://www.grantthornton.global/en/insights/articles/diverse-boards-in-india-uk-and-us-outperform-male-only-peers-by-us$655bn/
2Phillips, K. W. (2014, October 1). How Diversity Makes Us Smarter. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-diversity-makes-us-smarter/
3Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton, and Sara Prince. (n.d.). Why diversity matters. Retrieved September 12, 2016, from http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters
4Warner, J. (2014, March 7). The Women’s Leadership Gap: Women’s leadership by the numbers. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/WomenLeadership.pdf