Gender equality is a candid conversation. Ask what do we see that tells us we have room to improve our gender equality?
There is always room for improvement. We can always be better. That is why we recommend teams focused on gender equality and diversity & inclusion consistently challenge themselves to be better.
People believe it when they consistently see and hear the same message.
Our brains need to hear something 7 times before we really hear it, or can activate it. Speed that up by engaging in a dialogue about the message. To effectively deliver the message and facilitate this dialogue, get broad input from your team about key areas that are holding the team back from being truly inclusive.
Ask your team:
- What are the barriers and obstacles to achieving gender equality?
- What feedback do we get from women and allies in exit interviews about equality?
- What data or evidence do we have that we are missing the mark (i.e. senior leadership team, pay, promotion, attrition)?
- What gaps do we have to achieving equality?
Most often, I hear that organizations are blind to their own bias and the cultural barriers preventing gender equality. Reflecting on the questions above, challenge yourself to get real about the answers. There are always skeletons in the closet. No organization is perfect. We all have barriers.
Find the wiggle room
Start small. For women and their allies, we want quick, disruptive change. It is not going to happen that way. It takes time. It takes patience. Trust me, I struggle with this one. I wish I could be out of a job soon (well, kind of J). We are sitting at 5% female CEOs in the Fortune 500 in 2018. Progress takes time.
Take one step. Then, take another. If it feels scary, slow down and ask more questions of your team. Tackle barrier by barrier. Ask curiously for input on what is holding us back and what could make us better and listen to learn.
Doing something is always better than doing nothing. But, it is not easy. As our friends across the pond in England say, “mind the gap.” Mind your gaps, pay attention to them, note positive progress against them, and always challenge your team to better.
Because gender equality is a journey, not a destination.
Like this topic?
Good news. There is more. Stay tuned for our next question in the series on starting the gender equality conversation in your organization. Next, we will tackle, “what are examples of times we have gotten gender equality right…”
Gender equality is a candid conversation.
That is why our website is packed full with resources to have this candid conversation, including:
- 5 Questions to Start the Gender Equality Conversation
- 5 Questions Video Series
- 2-minute video overviews of key topics in diversity, leadership, and career development
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