The GenderWorks Blog

What Can Gender Teach Us about Reducing the Political Divide?

Our country is bitterly divided in ways that many of us never thought possible. Gender is a topic, like politics, that has enormous power to divide. Our work has long been deepening our understanding of gender and working toward building connection. We wanted to share two blogs that speak to the gender divide and to what helps in moving beyond it.

New Video Series on Root Causes Preventing Accelerated DEI Progress

While there are pockets of progress with regard to diversity, equity and inclusion – and forward movement should be celebrated – the embedded power structure of white men being over-indexed in leadership roles, their concentration increasing at every step up the career ladder, remains in the vast majority of companies.

The Strengths and Limitations of the Diversity Business Case

Last week we launched the first in a new video series on the Root Causes that negatively impact efforts to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion in organizations. We highlighted the insufficiency of the DEI business case as a motivator for change. It explored the limitations of the business case as well as what is needed to expedite progress. We’ve created a resource, “Why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Matter for Progress and a Healthy Global Economy” which is a compendium of business case research.

Holiday Greetings from GenderWorks

We wanted to wish you time for centering, time for what brings you joy and time to regenerate as we all move toward the close of this very difficult year. We hope our newsletter over this past year has touched each of your lives in a positive way. Look for our next newsletter during the first week of January, 2021 when we’ll continue our Root Cause series.

The Root Causes Preventing DEI Progress

Organizational efforts focused on enabling greater diversity, strengthening the sense of inclusion employees feel and ensuring greater equity too often target symptoms of these challenges without addressing the root causes or underlying issues at play. GenderWorks has identified key issues that stymie DEI progress despite
organizational efforts to create change. We believe focusing attention on these five root causes holds great promise in moving from incremental to transformational progress.

Root Cause Problem: Those Most Needed to Be Involved in DEI Are Not

A foundational reason why organizations struggle to expand the diversity of leadership and improve equity across diverse employee groups is that those who most need to be involved in influencing and supporting change are not. Men comprise 79% of C-suite leaders with white men accounting for 2/3rd’s of the group. Men represent over 60% of managers even at the most junior management ranks.

Root Cause Problem: Mentoring Is More About Assimilation Than Expansion

A primary reason for the lack of women in the leadership ranks is the tendency to mentor women (truth be told all diverse employees) to mimic the existing success model defined by men, primarily white heterosexual, cis-gender men in traditional family situations. Despite change, this model continues to characterize the great majority of those who ascend to leadership roles.

Root Cause Problem: The Focus Is On Expediency Rather Than Impact

We highlight the fourth Root Cause which we articulate as a focus on expedience rather than impact. What do we mean by that? Much of the activity that falls under the DEI umbrella in organizations can be described as expedient, that is convenient and easier to accomplish. The reference to low-hanging fruit comes to mind. Yet altering workplaces to distribute opportunity far more equally and creating work cultures where employees can be most effective – rather than depleting their energy trying to ‘fit in’ – is complex work.

Root Cause Problem: We Underestimate What Is Required For Change. We Forget That Bias Is Biology

The fifth and last in our Root Cause video series highlights the most formidable challenge of all – biology! Creating equity in the workplace requires fully embracing the challenge. The truth is, bias is biology. It’s literally physiologically wired into our brains. If our goal is to create a new reality of how the workplace operates, if our goal is to create workplaces where diversity is embraced rather than tolerated, if we seek to fully embrace diversity of demography and of worldview, then we must understand that humility is the starting point.