Gender equality is a candid conversation.  Ask what is one thing I can do to make a positive impact on gender equality at our organization?

I end every talk I give with, “what is one thing I will commit to doing as a result of what I learned today?”

People in my audiences pair and share and often write down their commitments. It is a powerful and simple question. We can only control ourselves. We cannot control the actions of others. It is tempting to will those around us to change, yet this is futile and frustrating. Instead, ask yourself what you can do to promote positive change.

Be the change you want to see

Ghandi’s message sticks with me and those I have the fortune to speak to.  By committing to a specific actions yourself, and sharing what you will do to have a positive impact on gender equality, you will compel others to commit around you.

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  • Have a candid conversation with someone that needs feedback or coaching on inclusive behavior
  • Champion women, recognizing their ideas, successes, and encourage them to advance in their careers via stretch assignments and/or promotions
  • Choose to see her potential rather than her performance (men are often evaluated based on their potential and women have to prove themselves through performance)
  • Mentor or sponsor a woman that could benefit from your skills/expertise

Positive peer pressure works

As humans, we mirror those around us.  We also seek to surround ourselves with others that resemble ourselves.  It is a human primal desire to be like those in our tribe.  As a tribal species, we seek belonging and connection with those that we spend the most time with.  That is why we desperately try to fit in, and when we do not feel we do, we leave the tribe.  So, if you want to change your organization, the fastest way to do that is to change yourself first.  And, then enlist others in your tribe to do the same by simply modeling it for them.

Believe in the power of diversity

In our history, being different was not a good thing.  Today, it is.  Diverse perspectives bring better business results.  Reams of data from Harvard, McKinsey, Catalyst, and more illustrate this.  Yet, after years of reporting, diversity numbers remain stagnant, and are even retreating for women leaders.  That is because we make decisions based on emotion.  You have to believe for yourself that it is important.  What does diversity mean to you?  Why do you care?  Dig deep to channel your own experiences or those of your colleagues, family members, friends, and others in your tribe that you care about.

What would it mean to them?  What does it mean to you?

Gender equality is a candid conversation and I hope these 5 Simple Questions to Get the Gender Equality Conversation Started were helpful.

That is why our website is packed full with resources to have this candid conversation, including:

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