Boost performance with women in leadership Boost performance with women in leadership Boost performance with women in leadership

Boost performance with women in leadership

Ida Kassa Johannesen

Head of ESG investments, Saxo Bank.

Summary:  Though research shows that companies with more women in leadership positions outperform their peers, women are still largely underrepresented in leadership roles worldwide. The research points to those companies being more innovative, more socially responsible, having higher customer satisfaction and higher employee retention. Empowering women seem to be a win-win benefiting both women and society as a whole. Saxo’s Women in Leadership basket puts the research to the test by focusing on companies that advance women through senior leadership positions.

International Women's Day

Since 1975 the United Nations has celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) every year on 8 March. IWD is about gender equality, women’s advancement and empowerment. It is a celebration of women’s rights and achievements over the years, so let us talk about women.

Women have come a long way, but not that long ago, women could not enjoy many of the rights they now have. For example:

  • Only in 1967, contraception was authorized in France.
  • Only in 1974, women were granted the right to open a bank account in the US.
  • Only in 1986, women were allowed to vote in nationwide polls in Switzerland.
  • Only in 2015, women were allowed to vote in local elections in Saudi Arabia. 
Since then, there has been significant progress. Women have taken leadership positions in governments and corporations, have traveled to space, led prestigious universities and won Nobel prizes. However, stark differences remain between genders when it comes to wages, wealth, investing and leadership. According to the World Economic Forum, in 2021, the gender pay gap in Europe and the USA was 12.7% and 22.1% respectively. The global gender gap score, the difference between women and men in social, political, intellectual, cultural and economic attainments, was 68.4% in 2023 for all countries. No country has yet achieved gender parity and it will unfortunately take close to a century before women can expect to achieve equality with men. The numbers are shocking, but this is the reality we live in.

    Gender equality matters 

    Two of the most important reasons that gender equality matters are that it is good for the economy and reduces poverty. This can save the lives of women and their children in many places around the world. 

    One way to advance and empower women is by giving them a seat at the table, bringing more women into leadership positions. This is not only beneficial to women but also to companies, in fact, Research shows that companies with more women in leadership positions perform better. Those companies tend to be more innovative, more socially responsible, have higher customer satisfaction and higher employee retention. Having more women simply changes the way companies think and operate.

    To put the research to the test, we have put together a basket of global companies that are committed to gender diversity and advancing women through policies, programmes, and leadership positions. Only companies with at least 30% women in senior management and top sustainability ratings are considered for inclusion in this basket. 

    Risks and other considerations

    1. Market risk: the risk that the value of your assets declines. Depending on the locations in which these companies operate, you might also face political and emerging market risks, leading to reduced liquidity and a lack of financial, legal, and social stability. 
    2. Gender diversity risk: the focus on gender diversity means that companies that do not meet the gender diversity threshold of 30% women in senior leadership will be excluded. Those companies may outperform the companies within the basket.
    3. Sustainability focus risk: the focus on sustainability means that companies with poor ESG (environmental, social, and governance) ratings and certain sectors will be excluded. This may result in less diversification than the broader equity market and may at times negatively impact performance.  

    How to invest

    You can browse through Saxo’s Women in Leadership theme for a list of companies that advance women through leadership positions. 

    Before making any investments, you should consider your investment objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon, and review the available information about the product on the platform.


    The Saxo Group entities each provide execution-only service, and access to analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website is not intended to and does not change or expand on this. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Inspiration Disclaimer and (v) Notices applying to Trade Inspiration, Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular, no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication under relevant laws.

    Please read our disclaimers:
    Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (
    Full disclaimer (

    None of the information contained here constitutes an offer to purchase or sell a financial instrument, or to make any investments. Saxo Markets does not take into account your personal investment objectives or financial situation and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the information nor for any loss arising from any investment made in reliance of this presentation. Any opinions made are subject to change and may be personal to the author. These may not necessarily reflect the opinion of Saxo Markets or its affiliates.

    Saxo Markets
    88 Market Street
    CapitaSpring #31-01
    Singapore 048948

    Contact Saxo

    Select region


    Saxo Capital Markets Pte Ltd ('Saxo Markets') is a company authorised and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) [Co. Reg. No.: 200601141M ] and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saxo Bank A/S, headquartered in Denmark. Please refer to our General Business Terms & Risk Warning to consider whether acquiring or continuing to hold financial products is suitable for you, prior to opening an account and investing in a financial product.

    Trading in financial instruments carries various risks, and is not suitable for all investors. Please seek expert advice, and always ensure that you fully understand these risks before trading. Trading in leveraged products such as Margin FX products may result in your losses exceeding your initial deposits. Saxo Markets does not provide financial advice, any information available on this website is ‘general’ in nature and for informational purposes only. Saxo Markets does not take into account an individual’s needs, objectives or financial situation.

    The Saxo trading platform has received numerous awards and recognition. For details of these awards and information on awards visit

    The information or the products and services referred to on this website may be accessed worldwide, however is only intended for distribution to and use by recipients located in countries where such use does not constitute a violation of applicable legislation or regulations. Products and Services offered on this website are not intended for residents of the United States, Malaysia and Japan. Please click here to view our full disclaimer.

    This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

    Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc, registered in the US and other countries and regions. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google LLC.