Kristi Marcum

People and corporations in El Paso and across the country are recognizing the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and the call to action is clear: We must accelerate our progress toward gender balance in the workplace and advance women’s economic empowerment.

Corporations that lead in these areas improve women’s economic mobility and help other businesses and consumers succeed and move our community and the world closer to equality.

It’s no longer enough for companies to simply follow the letter of the law. To spur progress, today’s leaders must redefine their corporate culture to create environments that go beyond traditional diversity and inclusion programs.

A recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch study found gender-diverse companies perform 15% better than those that lack diversity and inclusion efforts. A separate Bank of America Merrill Lynch whitepaper noted that for every 10% increase in diversity and inclusion among executives, a company boosts profitability by 8%.

Creating a culture of diversity and inclusion nurtures innovation, boosts productivity and instills an atmosphere of employee commitment and engagement. Companies that demonstrate an investment in women and appreciate their contributions are not only meeting the needs of their clients, communities and employees but are exceeding shareholder expectations in many cases.

These metrics are not the sole equations for success, but investors are taking notice. As a woman leader, I know first-hand how essential women are to my company’s ability to support the needs of our clients, communities and employees.

One of the keys to success is ensuring benefits and programs that demonstrate a commitment to supporting women’s long-term success. Offering paid parental leave, tuition reimbursement, backup childcare programs and flexible work arrangements empower women to bring their best selves to work and are great places to start.

“Women are economic drivers. They have the power to transform society. Developing programs that support the economic empowerment of women makes business sense,” said Sylvia Acosta, CEO of the YWCA El Paso del Norte Region. “Companies that invest in women are investing in the economic health of the community.”

At the end of the day, a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has a powerful impact on the morale of its workforce and its long-term growth. By embracing the nuances of diversity and increasing the number of women at every level, as well as investing in resources that support and empower their success, El Paso companies can be better equipped to strengthen their bottom line and help advance women’s equality and economic mobility in a way that is truly sustainable.