Focus Area

Corporate Leadership

In a rapidly changing and competitive world, companies need to look to the future and build a pipeline of leadership talent that features the full range of complementary skills, expertise, and perspectives.

A growing body of research shows a range of business benefits associated with gender diversity on corporate boards and in senior leadership as well as positive influence of gender-diverse management and boards on a company’s sustainability profile. Among these benefits: improved financial performance and shareholder value, increased customer and employee satisfaction, rising investor confidence, and greater market knowledge and reputation.

Our Approach

IFC is building capacity, raising awareness, and expanding the discussion about gender diversity on boards and in business leadership in emerging markets and developing countries—all part of our overall environmental, social, and corporate governance standards.

IFC has launched its Women on Boards and in Business Leadership training program to meet the needs of companies as they look to improve diversity in management and on boards. The program provides greater opportunities for women on boards and in leadership positions, accelerating competitive advantages. It also helps companies maximize the bene­fits from a board and senior leadership team that reflects a diversity of thought, skills, and experience.

We also conduct research to demonstrate evidence of the link between more women in senior executive positions and stronger environment, social and governance standards. Another study found that private equity and venture capital funds with gender-balanced senior investment teams generated 10 percent to 20 percent higher returns compared with funds that have a majority of male or female leaders.