Last month, Harvard Business Review featured an insightful article on gender equality in the workplace. Although companies state that they\’re working to treat men and women equally, many employees feel dissatisfied, especially by the lack of woman leaders. The article is \”Why Workplace Equality Initiatives Aren\’t Helping Women\” by Orit Gadiesh and Julie Coffman. Here\’s a brief excerpt:
Companies say they treat men and women equally — but in reality, they don\’t. Our recent gender-parity survey of more than 1,800 business people worldwide, conducted in association with HBR.org, shows that in fact, employees are disappointed with the way their company handles the issue of gender parity — the attempt to treat men and women equally in the workforce…Almost three-quarters of respondents say their companies launched initiatives like flex work programs and mentorships, but fewer than 25 percent feel they are effective: employees just don\’t see enough women in leadership positions at their company.
These limitations in what has been done, and the need to do more, are important to acknowledge. I was also glad, however, to be able to share some positive observations too.
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Dear Orit and Julie,
This is a tough and honest article to read. There is still so much more progress needed.
However, there are some positive lights. I just returned from an amazing conference called \”Dynamic Women in Business,\” the 19th annual conference of its sort held at Harvard Business School.
It was compelling, inspiring, engaging.
It was honest and tough.
It was practical.
It was hopeful.
It was frank.
One woman there spoke that she was uncomfortable at certain major Fortune 500 company because she was gay. Now, she has an opportunity where she is leading the gay/lesbian channel at MTV. Another woman led $1 billion in revenue for General Mills; another the CEO of Lululemon. There are examples, and yes, we do need to increase them.
As with any business, you have to build value to succeed. Let\’s build value in our conversations so that we are building towards a positive solution.