When Warren Buffet says it, you have to pay attention. Right? In an essay in Fortune, he speaks up about the importance of leveraging the talents of women as well as men in U.S. business. He says the “ethical case” for having women share top spots with men (i.e., it is the right thing to do) is compelling. But he stresses “self-interest,” what is also called the “business case.” He concludes, “We’ve seen what can be accomplished when we use 50% of our human capacity. If you visualize what 100% can do, you’ll join me as an unbridled optimist about America’s future.”
In an interview posted online, Buffet elaborates. He demonstrates that he values intelligence and character, regardless of whether it comes in a male or female package and regardless of race. He acknowledges that he was shaped by a world that kept women “on the shelf,” allowing women essentially three roles outside the home – secretary, teacher and nurse. Over time, he has become a convert. He is awed by how far the U.S. economy has come despite utilizing “half its talent” – men. He is optimistic about U.S. business, largely because business is beginning to tap the strengths of both men and women.
Further, he addresses the question posed by Sheryl Sandberg, women and self-doubt. Acknowledging that men as well as women put limitations on themselves, he focuses on the limitations that society once put on women. He seems truly committed to removing those limitations.
Welcome to the house, Mr. Buffet!