In its 2014 Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum says: "Some of the most compelling findings regarding the benefits of gender equality are emerging from companies. For example, companies that include more women at the top levels of leadership tend to outperform those that don't.
"With a growing female talent pool coming out of schools and universities, and with more consumer power in the hands of women, companies who fail to recruit and retain women- and ensure they have a pathway to leadership positions-undermine their competitiveness.
"And for those that do, the benefits of diversity are evident. But these benefits go beyond the economic case. There is another simple and powerful reason why more women should be empowered: fairness."
Caroline Berns, Head of Talent Acquisition for sub-Saharan Africa at Ericsson says that entrenched discrimination against women means exclusion at an early stage of from the education system. "If we have more females going to university across Africa, that will automatically mean there will be a bigger talent pool and that will help Ericsson in reaching our 30% target of women employed by 2020."
Bearns adds that within Ericsson, an ICT company that traditionally is male-oriented, her male colleagues are very supportive. "They really see the competitive advantage in having more females."
That echoes what Maria Vall-Serra, Talent Manager for SABMiller Africa has to say. "Last year SABMiller became quite proactive around gender with the goal to get a better gender balance with our employees, and we have adopted targets and have been tracing them closely.
"Brewers have been seen to be more male oriented, but we realise that if we only only target the male population we are only using less than half of the population as many studies show that more than half of all graduates are female." And as the WEF says: "Women ... deserve equal access to health, education, influence, earning power and political representation. Their views and values are critical for ensuring a more prosperous and inclusive common future. Humanity's collective progress depends on it."
This powerful statement emphasises what many progressive companies have come to recognise. But there still remains a stubborn...