The increasing presence of a collaborative and diverse workforce reflects our collective aspiration for a form of 21st-century leadership involving greater gender equality. We know that organizations with more women in board and senior management positions will, on average, outperform their peers (Bevelander, 2016), while complementary male and female styles of leadership can also create invaluable synergy. How can you improve the status quo?
- Require all staff to complete this short Harvard 'unconscious bias' test to help people realize that bias against women is very much 'alive' - even in your organisation!
- Use appropriate language and jokes (gender free) and speak up where they are not
- Seek out the range of opinions from both men and women, in meetings, before making decisions
- Personally own up, publish or comment on gender and culture diversity benefits or 'shortfall' in your company forums, newsletters and communications
- Implement a flexible working environment to accommodate different lifestyles and life phase needs where it is necessary - watch how women deliver on time when they have flexibility!
- Mix culture and genders across teams (role model this yourself / in the top team)
- Measure culture and diversity part of your triple bottom-line (people, planet, profit)
- Adjust your recruitment, selection and training policy in favor of diversity
- Implement gender sensitivity and cross-cultural learning and acceptance (in new staff courses, mandate basic gender sensitivity for all teams, include gender sensitivity in competency frameworks and performance reviews
- Engage in crucial engagement at executive level about diversity - e.g:
- Where are the women in our talent pipeline?
- What skills are we helping women build?
- Do we provide sponsors as well as role models?
- Are we rooting out unconscious bias?
- How much are our policies helping?
Please get active and do something about unconscious gender or cultural disempowerment and discrimination in your organization.
Source: Bevelander, D. (2016). The 8th Summit. Women Ascent of Organizations. Rotterdam School of Management. Rotterdam: Erasmus University Rotterdam.
With warmest regards,
Madeleine van der Steege