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Their vision is concise: Changing Workplaces. Changing Lives.

Their mission statement is simple: Expanding Opportunities for Women In Business.

When you see their stats on the poor representation of women on boards for big businesses, you might think their mission is impossible, but the work they have done and continue to do for women and for us all is groundbreaking. They do their research, forge ahead, and women are better for it. We all are.

Catalyst is a nonprofit that expands opportunities for women and for business. Check them out:  http://www.catalyst.org/home

Since 1962, they have worked to understand why women are not in big business, what the obstacles are to them being there and moving on up, and how to get women in the door. The foundation of their work is based on the research they’ve done. They study women and men all over the world to learn about “women’s experiences in business, barriers to their career advancement, and individual and organizational strategies leading to success.”

In one of their studies published this past year called The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards (2004–2008), Catalyst found that companies who include women on their boards actually have better financial results.

This shouldn’t be surprising. Not because women are awesome. We are, but that’s not it. It’s about balance. The world is made up of men and women, therefore men and women need to be represented. The more equality there is, the more ideas will come in the door for people to work together, for ways to meet needs of workers and clients, and ultimately for profits to come rolling in.

Catalyst designed the Bottom Line report series to establish whether an empirical link exists between gender diversity in corporate leadership and financial performance. They looked at the performance measures return on sales (ROS), return on invested capital (ROIC), and return on equity (ROE) for 524 companies that made the Fortune 500 List from 2004 to 2008.

They put together two portfolios of basically the best and the worst representation of women on boards. In the best portfolio, there were the 129 companies that had the highest average percentage of women directors.

The average percentage for women’s representation ranges from 19 percent to 44 percent (still not half), with an overall average of 25 percent.

The portfolio with the worst representation contained the 133 companies with the lowest average percentage of women directors. I didn’t see the names of those companies published by Catalyst, though it does make me curious. In the companies where women were least represented, the average percentage for women’s representation ranges from 0 percent to 9 percent, with an overall average of 4 percent.

4 percent? That’s not even a decent tip.

They found that “companies that achieve (gender) diversity and manage it well, attain better financial results, on average, than other companies.

Buck up and hire us- we up the profits!