Thursday 21 September 2017

Daughters civilize their fathers

Before they left home, my daughters wouldn't let me off if they thought I was talking nonsense or saying something outrageous. It made me more careful about what I said because it's humiliating to be called out by an eleven year old who obviously has a better moral sense and higher ethical standards than you do. By stopping my gob about certain matters, I adhered to and eventually absorbed their standards.  It seems that I am not the only father who has become less of a grumpy old bear with sketchy values by the schooling of daughters.

Paul Gompers, an economist from Harvard, and Sophie Wang, his graduate student, carried out a survey of hiring practice and economic success among a large large number of business start-ups and the Venture Capital firms who funded their rise. Weirdly, and it transpires interestingly, they also surveyed the hiring-and-firing decision-makers whether of not they had daughters. That question or the comparison of those data do not spring fully armed from the head of Zeus. It is asked because someone has a hypothesis - probably based on an anecdote and an insight.

It turns out that a) having a daughter makes you 25% more likely to hire women to work and make money for your company b) having made that admirably inclusive decision your company is going to do 3% better year-on-year than equivalent blokes-only firms. HuffPo's take on the story. As one who has two daughters in the work-place who will be looking for challenging jobs in the future, that is good news. Turns out that these good things flowing from girls-rule households include more liberal political view among congressmen, and more compassionate sentencing from judges with daughters. You can read the original paper IF you come from any of 200+ developing countries - including Vatican City, Liechtenstein, and Singapore which are not associated in my mind with extreme poverty. The rest of use have to pay for access.

It's sad that we have to make an argument of utility to achieve equality of opportunity for women in the world of banking and finance. But if it is shown to be profitable, more women will get the high flying, high paying jobs. That will promote diversity and diversity has to promote a certain bendiness and resilience in the face of challenge. If more and different solutions are put on the table then the problem is more likely to be solved.

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