Gender and Corporate Social Responsibility: It’s a Matter of Sustainability

Companies with both women and men leaders in the boardroom and at the executive table are poised to achieve sustainable big wins for the company and society. Data from Catalyst and researchers from Harvard Business School suggest that gender-inclusive leadership and corporate social responsibility (CSR), examined through the lens of corporate philanthropy, are linked. Findings in Gender and Corporate Social Responsibility: It’s a Matter of Sustainability include:

  • Compared to companies without women executive leaders, companies with gender-inclusive leadership teams contributed, on average, more charitable funds.
  • Even after controlling for key factors that might influence total donations, the presence of women leaders in Fortune 500 companies still has a significant, positive effect: more women leaders is correlated with higher levels of philanthropy.
  • By keeping gender issues prominent, gender-inclusive leadership likely also affects the quality of CSR initiatives.

When it comes to corporate sustainability, stakeholders should look to a new benchmark to help judge the long-term health of a company: the presence of gender-inclusive leadership, both on the board and in executive leadership teams.


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