Gender Diversity at Work: Does Commitment Equal Action

Posted by on Sep 28, 2016 in ComLead

Rachel Schall Thomas, President at LeanIn.Org, wrote a post this week on LinkedIn regarding women in the workplace. More specifically, how do we get women into higher positions? Today more and more companies are pledging to be committed to gender diversity in the workforce, which is good! But, pledges don’t always lead to action.download

Often times a lot of the focus is on the C-Suite and the lack of gender diversity at this level. However, Thomas discusses WHY there aren’t more women in executive level positions. Women are actually less likely to receive that first promotion to manager which would in turn start their career path to leadership. Without this promotion many women are never given the opportunities to keep growing. This is why the number of women in senior level positions decreases the higher up you go.

As we mentioned earlier, companies are making a greater commitment to gender diversity. 78% of companies report that commitment to gender diversity is a top commitment for their CEO. That number is up from the reported 56% in 2012. However, at these companies, fewer than half of the employees believe their company is actually taking initiative in improving gender diversity. This is why a commitment is good, not great,because it is not necessarily a tell-tale sign for action.

So, how do we change this? Thomas is clear in her suggestion: “treat gender diversity like the business imperative it is.” CEO’s need to educate employees, provide training, encourage mentoring and cross-gender work relationships, and actually set goals. Improving gender diversity in the workplace can only benefit those involved and the organization as a whole. There has been a great amount of progression in this area, especially as of late, but we still have a long way to go.

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