Men vs Women in the Business Setting: Why It's Important to Have Both Genders on a Board of Directors

An article recently published by Fortune called, “What Uber’s Board Can Learn from Starbucks,” highlighted Uber's flawed corporate governance. A corporation with strong values and an unyielding reputation is pivotal for the success of a company, and Uber seems to be swaying from this ideology. Consumers are becoming aware of the lack of diversity among the board, and this is negatively affecting Uber’s legitimacy. What Uber should learn from Starbucks, as the article highlights, is that “Starbucks’ board attempted to reflect the diverse customer base it wanted to serve and the employees it wanted to hire.” In other words, if you diversify gender and ethnicity presence on the board, your consumer base will simultaneously expand its horizons, and eventually, attract higher profits. 

A book called Leadership and the Sexes by Michael Gurian explains the idea of leaders differentiating themselves quite significantly by gender at top international companies. Such an idea was explored through a series of brain studies designed to find out the distinct ways in which men and women perform in the field. According to the book, men's brains are more apt to enter a "rest state" and zone out in a meeting, whereas more often women tend to run off topic. Neither brain has been proven to be superior or inferior, they're just different. Hence, the conformability of both would essentially balance out the weaknesses by providing strengths from both brain structures. 

That being said, there are still deeply ingrained misogynistic attitudes in the business world. They have started to dissipate with time, but comments such as one from David Bonderman (former member of the Uber board of directors) show that discrimination towards women is still prevalent. In reference to women leading businesses, Bonderman stated, “Actually, what it shows is it’s much likely to be more talking,” meaning he thinks women spend more time talking than men. Thankfully, comments like this are being frowned upon by the company, and Bonderman subsequently lost his seat on the board. 

By revising male and female relationships, corporations can meet the demands of the global/international economy while achieving maximum success. The article by Fortune backs this up by referencing a recent study: “An analysis by MSCI over five-year period with at least three women on the board had median earnings per share gains of 37%. Companies that began the period with no female directors saw their earnings per share decline by -8% over the course of the study.” This means that boards with at least three women had more net gain than boards without women. For this reason, Uber should learn from Starbucks by diversely complementing their board with male and female minds, because that factor is overwhelmingly contingent with their success.