Corporations are considered persons under certain interpretations of the law, so why not include them in the merry tradition of New Year’s resolution-making? Let’s give it a shot.
I propose U.S. corporations make three New Year’s resolutions for 2023. By committing to all these, businesses will reap the financial upside of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. As our research shows, every 10% increase in gender equity yields a 1% to 2% increase in revenue.
If companies want to support women, they should support pay equity in addition to their commitments to safeguard abortion access. Here’s why. Thirty-four percent of women have thought about leaving their companies because of how they handled Roe’s overturn. Yet, more than double that percentage of women, 72%, said they would not apply to work at a company where a pay gap exists.
Paying for abortion-related travel alone won’t fix workplace gender inequity. Yes, women’s bodily autonomy matters. This is a foundational right. And gender equity is about far more than the right to choose. Women also care about receiving equitable pay. They care about having equitable access to career-advancing opportunities. They care about economic mobility.
Besides, money talks. The chances of us witnessing Roe’s reversal would have depreciated significantly had we closed the gender equity gap (of which pay equity is a subset) in the workplace years ago. Have we forgotten that equity in the workplace begets equity in politics? Women are 51% of the U.S. population, 27% of Congress, and 14% of the wealthiest Americans. Money determines who makes it to the halls of power and whose voices get heard.
As a bonus, closing the gender pay gap in the U.S. would strengthen the economy by at least $512 billion. In other words, it pays to pay people equitably.
Companies should deploy targeted skilling initiatives to ensure that half the talent base—women—have access to the future of work. As it stands, women hold fewer than 33% of all data and AI roles and fewer than 15% of all cloud computing jobs. Meanwhile, 1.5 million women have vanished from the labor force since February 2020 and companies are scouring for employees to execute their technological ambitions.
A commitment to equitably upskill the labor force would supply companies with the talent they need to achieve their strategic goals. It would also help return over $1.789 trillion to the U.S. economy (because that’s the economic upside of closing the gender gap in labor force participation).