News & Insights about Closing the Leadership Gender Gap

When you're accustomed to privilege equality feels like oppression.

HorsesMouth-Oppression.pngAt the tail end of 2016, the CEOs of 27 large companies made an unprecedented announcement: they pledged to have 50% of their top leadership roles filled by women by the year 2030. To achieve the goal, they identified key actions for senior managers including: 

"...address unconscious bias;  base advancement on performance rather than time in the office; promote women into operating roles with responsibility for profit and loss; set targets and communicate them; and actively sponsor promising female leaders."

Executives in the EU  and Australia have similar coalitions in place.

Time to break out the champagne, right? Not so fast. Surprisingly—or perhaps unsurprisingly, depending on how cynical you are—not everyone agrees that we need more gender equality initiatives. In fact, there are many men and some women who think actions like calls to promote women into operating roles, setting targets and sponsoring promising women are frankly unnecessary and unfair.

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Topics: Gender Dynamics, Managers Mindsets, Unconscious Bias

"Frailty, thy name is woman"

Shakespeare's Hamlet denounces his mother's swift remarriage by saying, "Frailty, thy name is woman." One could suggest that researchers have been doing the same for the leadership gender gap.

As I read the key findings from LeanIn/McKinsey's latest research I notice a pattern with how they reported on gender issues. Take a look at these excerpts from the "Women face an uneven playing field" section and see if you can catch it:

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Topics: Gender Dynamics, Managers Mindsets, Unconscious Bias

Changing Mindsets, Taking Action


Take a look at the nine seconds of burbling Yellowstone “mudpot” action above. Here at Leading Women, we love this video because it’s a perfect metaphor for shaking things up. And when it comes to shaking up the mindsets of managers to take action to close the leadership gender gap, we’re even more passionate. “I have taken a lifetime to create these mindsets,” said one of our clients, a European executive at a global company, “and now you have destroyed some of them in three hours.” Ka-pow!

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Topics: Gender Dynamics, Managers Mindsets, Unconscious Bias

Why Unconscious Bias Training Doesn't Close the Gender Gap: The Case for Gender Dynamics

TrainingsGeneric unconscious bias training and its umbrella intervention, diversity training, have been around for decades, but they have still failed to close the leadership gender gap. In their article Why Diversity Programs Fail, Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev argue that this is because too much diversity training is mandatory, prompting resentment and defensiveness from managers. “Trainers tell us that people often respond to compulsory courses with anger and resistance—and many participants actually report more animosity toward other groups afterward,” they write.

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Topics: Talent Development, Gender Dynamics, Managers Mindsets, Unconscious Bias, Gender Bias, Women's Leadership Development

Managers' Mindsets & Millennials

While on Facebook the other day, I came across this post from a friend, who works in HR for a well-known US-based health insurance company, and I could not get what she wrote out of my head. 

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Topics: Gender Dynamics, Managers Mindsets, Unconscious Bias, Gender Bias, Millennials

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