Death to the Queen Bee: Women Hire and Promote More Women

Companies with female executives in decision-making roles generate stronger market returns and superior profits, according to “CS Gender 3000: Progress in the Boardroom,” a report from the Credit Suisse Research Institute (to which I contributed). The report also proves a thesis of my book, Stiletto Network, demonstrating that when women are in true positions of power, they hire and promote other women, as opposed to excluding them.

Contrary to the “Queen Bee” stereotype, new evidence shows that female CEOs are much more likely to surround themselves with female leaders. Women CEOs are 50% more likely than male CEOs to have a female CFO and 55% more likely to have women running business units. This holds true in venture capital, start-ups, and microfinance, as well as in the corporate world. While female representation in in venture capital partnerships remains low, VCs co-founded by women have a much higher percentage of female partners than the industry average (43% vs. 7-8%). Additionally, female-founded VCs invest more in women entrepreneurs, with 17.4% of funding rounds going to female-owned startups versus the industry average of 12%.

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We’re moving away from the corporate model. We’re coming into an era where women have the skill sets and core value systems. Being collegial, collaborative, checking your ego at the door… able to work in a non-hierarchical environment, listening, attuned to intuition. These are increasingly all characteristics of senior leaders. Women have that capacity, as mothers and sisters and preservers of the family. When we come through this period, I think we’ll find many more women at the senior level.”

Catherine Allen, CEO of the Santa Fe Group and founding CEO of the financial industry consortium BITS

Stiletto Network (Page 153)