7 Ways You Can Push For Parity At Work Today

Set a policy in your workplace that no one can interrupt in a meeting.

Gender equity will not land on us when we open the window.

Necessary changes take time and individuals working now can help make the shifts in culture, behavior and practices that will assure gender parity across all sectors and industries in the future.

The goal of Take The Lead is to reach gender parity in leadership positions in all industries by 2025. Here is what action you can take immediately to create a culture of equity from where you are today.

1. Eliminate the manels. Beginning from the time you are alerted to an upcoming conference in your industry, the keynote speaker list, the panelists and the presentations. If it is not a fair representation by gender, race, age, ability and more, contact the organizers. Do not just point out the all-male panel or manel, but make solid suggestions on experts to contact who are not white and male. If you are an expert in your field, make sure you are on a list of experts in your field. Network within your area and approach organizers of conferences a year in advance with a pitch for a panel or a keynote. If you attend a conference that under-represents women, point that out to the panelists and to the organizers. Suggest your organization, company or nonprofit have a policy against participating in all-male panels.

You can take action to create a culture of equity in your workplace. For example, suggest a policy against participating in all male panels. #Manels #GenderParity Click To Tweet

This coming week in Germany, “at the Frontiers in Cancer Research meeting, 23 of the 28 invited speakers—or 82 percent—are women,” according to Science. “’We invited women who are driving the field… The ratio is the opposite of what it usually is,’ says Ursula Klingmüller, a systems biologist at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg and chair of the center’s Executive Women’s Initiative.”

According to Huffington Post, in 2016, “executive director of the U.N. Global Compact, Lise Kingo, announced that the organization’s 80 employees will no longer participate in or host all-male panel discussions. ‘Too often I’ve been the only woman on a panel. It is time that we challenge the status quo and stop making excuses — there is no shortage of qualified women,’ Kingo said in a statement, part of her opening remarks at the Women’s Empowerment Principles annual event in New York.”

2. Insist everyone gets to speak in meetings without interruption. Whether you are in court, morning meeting, company retreat or project update, be sure to create rules and agreements of engagement that mandate no one is interrupted. You can have a practice of the speaker holds an object while speaking, or if when interrupted, the leader of the meeting asks for the person to stop interrupting. You can also say, “Please wait until I am finished, thank you,” or “I am not finished.”

Looking for ways to create a culture of #genderequality in your workplace? Insist everyone gets to speak in meetings without interruption. #ChangeTheWorkplace Click To Tweet

“Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington DC, has long studied gender difference in communication,” according to Forbes. “Her work explores the fundamental premise that men and women approach speaking with different aims: men speak to achieve power and status, women speak to forge connection. In conversations, men will interrupt to assert dominance, while women will hold back to preserve relationships.”

Forbes in another article reports, “According to a recent survey from the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association of 2,827 lawyers, female lawyers, and especially women of color, are more likely than their male counterparts to be interrupted, to be mistaken for non-lawyers, to do more office housework, and to have less access to prime job assignments.” One lawyer in the study wrote, “White men don’t realize how much ‘space’ belongs to them or that they unconsciously feel that they own space. They frequently interrupt others, but if a woman on a conference call states her thoughts, she’s immediately criticized as interrupting.”

3. Make sure your organization’s visuals are fair. At an organization where I worked for almost two decades, I frequently pointed out that on the website, only photos of men were visible. Mostly white men. Surely, that is not intentional, the web designer says, it is only a representation of recent news. Check to see if your newsletter leans toward white and male, and if twitter photos show a less inclusive representation of clients, employees and culture. The solution is to make a it a deliberate intention to showcase a broader representation by gender, age, race and ability. Pictures are worth 1,000 words.

“If your prior event photos are all mostly one demographic, it can negatively affect the chances of someone from a different demographic applying. Take another look at your marketing visuals and messages to see if you are being inclusive and thoughtful,” writes Monica H. Kang, Founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox, in Entrepreneur.

4. Ask about hiring practices and if candidates are from a wide pool. Some companies make sure they cast a wide net reaching out to different organizations, schools, networks and online groups. According to CNBC, “Companies can expand their scope for finding candidates by reaching out to professional organizations geared towards women or attending college job fairs at all-female institutions. To ensure that women of all races are also included in their hiring practices, companies can also attend conferences and reach out to organizations geared towards ethnic minorities. In an interview with CNBC earlier this year, CEO Jamie Dimon said he’s proud to report that a sizable portion of his direct reports are women. ‘Thirty percent of our top 200 people are women. And they have unbelievable jobs,’ he said.”

5. Insist that the company’s board of directors have gender balance. Make the suggestion that your organization can follow the example of California. An unprecedented bill introduced last month “mandates publicly traded companies headquartered in California to have women on its boards will face another test this week, the SF Chronicle reports, as it heads to the floor of the California Assembly. California could be the first state to enact a law of this type, in a push to give those who identify as women a seat at the corporate table. According to Board Governance Research, women made up 15.5 percent of California-based public companies in 2017, while men made up more than 80 percent of seat,” according to the Chronicle. “This law is the first of its kind in the United States, but not the first in the world. In 2003, Norway introduced a gender quota law. Since then, the percentage of women board members in the country has doubled, according to the Economist.”

6. Ask for salary transparency. No one wants to find out after five years, that someone in your same position makes much more than you do, simply because that person is male. Ask that hiring practices be more open and that a salary range based in experience, not gender, is adhered to strictly. Job descriptions can be posted with ranges and a person’s salary should not be connected to salary history. Ask if your organization eliminates the salary history question and request that it not be part of the process.

“Recent legislation in several states and cities has made it illegal for potential employers to ask interviewees about their past salaries. The intent behind the laws: to redress the balance for women and minorities who are already fighting a wage gap (one that gets even steeper for black and Latina women),” according to CNN. “According to a wage gap report released by New York City’s public advocate Letita James, women earn $5.8 billion less in wages than men.”

Not only do there need to be processes in place for reporting #harassment and #genderbias that has no backlash or repercussions, but there has to be exemplary behavior from the top down. Click To Tweet

7. Make your workplace harassment-free. Not only do there need to be processes in place for reporting harassment and gender bias that has no backlash or repercussions, but there has to be exemplary behavior from the top down, and fair, respectful treatment of all employees with the given expectation of fairness always. “Gillian Thomas, senior staff attorney at American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project, says that in order to create safer spaces for women, individuals in leadership positions must do a better job of setting a good example,” according to CNBC. “We need to have workplaces where male allies, as well as women, are getting the message from leadership that this is an environment where harassment will not be tolerated,” said Thomas. “Not just vague statements about zero tolerance but where there are procedures in place and training about the law and suggested strategies to bystanders about how to react.”

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