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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

What Do Male Allies Do?

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

Male allies cannot declare themselves to be male allies, they are genuine male allies when women recognize them as male allies.

I learned this from two of the very best male allies, Dave Smith and Brad Johnson, authors of Athena Rising, a guide for cross-gender mentoring.  As male allies and advocates for gender equality, they have been connectors, endorsers, interviewees, social media supporters, and mentors for me throughout the daunting process of writing a book.  To me, there is no greater example of male allyship in my career and business.  Their support continues to astound me, and I am stronger today because of their support.  Male allies provide a variety of support just as Brad and Dave do – they may play a role as a mentor, advocate, coach, sponsor, or support women as managers.  They play the role she wants and needs them to play.

We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

A mantra I often sign in copies of our book, ONE, on male allies.  I find stories help showcase what male allies do best.  One my favorite stories of male allyship comes from a male ally I follow, Adam Grant.  Adam is author of Give and Take and Originals, both compelling reads to shake up our views of giving and original thinking.  Being a fan of his work, we reached out to Adam when writing ONE.  Knowing he is incredibly busy, we thought: what is the worst that could happen?  As a genuine and intentional giver, Adam politely declined an interview, but gave us five names of men and women passionate about male allies.  All responded, and this book is far better with their input.  From his male allyship, I got to meet famous authors, experts, and speakers at the forefront of gender equality, Adam’s support paved the way for other men to follow our movement and engage in the content.  One such group he connected me with were the Wharton 22s, a male ally organization at the University of Pennsylvania.

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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

Why It’s Important for Women to Engage Male Allies

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

After finding myself in the 20th room of all women trying to fix “women’s issues,” I had an aha moment.

How are we going to fix the challenges facing women by ourselves?  Given that men are still the majority of decision makers inside organizations (95% of CEOs and 80%+ of senior leadership), what are the chances of success when we exclude them from the discussion?

Not very good.  And that is exactly what has happened in the last 30 years of feminism.  We have been successful in gaining awareness around gender equality and the challenges holding women back.

Yet, the success has largely been limited to consciousness raising, not consciousness shifting. 

We have been excluding a key demographic in this conversation – men.  50% of our population and most of the leaders inside organizations making decisions, they have been left out.

We told men what NOT to do, not what to do.

We can see some of the likely consequences of this non-inclusive behavior in the recent rash of sexual harassment allegations.

The conversation cannot just be about the problems – it has to also be about the solutions.

In our research for ONE, we found that men want to be engaged in the dialogue.  They care, and not just because they have daughters, or were raised by single mothers, or have been positively influenced by women in their lives; they believe in it.

Male allies support women because they believe it is the right thing to do. 

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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

Sexual Harassment Training Do’s and Don’ts

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

Just mention sexual harassment training, and you will likely elicit a wide-eyed awkward response.  A necessary, yet scary topic in many organizations today, sexual harassment training is top priority following recent political and social stories.  As a society, we are grappling with how to detect and prevent this behavior.  If our team members are being harassed, they likely do not feel safe at work, and are not doing their best work.  Preventing this behavior is not only is the right thing to do for humans, it’s the right thing for business.

So, what is sexual harassment?  Defined by the EEOC as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature,” these behaviors have an adverse effect on organizational health.  Yet, most training is meant to comply with EEOC requirements, with limited success.  It tells us what not to do, yet not what to do.

The recent New York Times article cites challenges with traditional training approaches as:  making people feel uncomfortable, prompting defensive jokes, or reinforcing gender stereotypes of masculinity as powerful and femininity as vulnerable, therefore, potentially making harassment worse.  The root cause of these negative behaviors is encouraging sexual harassment in the first place.

So, what do experts recommend?

  • Empower the bystander: Male allies call out bad behavior.  Often the bystanders witnessing sexual harassment, they can be the ones to teach men how to treat women, and set the example of what good looks like for other men to follow.

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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

What Women Entrepreneurs Want

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Team Building, Training | No Comments

Being a huge fan of women in business, I got curious about the fast-paced growth of women business owners recently.  And, the statistics tell an interesting story.  According to Entrepreneur online:

  • Women are founding companies at a historic rate, with more than 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. today
  • Over the past 15 years, women-owned firms have grown at a rate 1.5 times other small businesses and are estimated to provide more than 5 million jobs this year
  • Businesses with a woman on the executive team have 64% higher valuations at the first round of fundraising

So, this begs the question, why are women leaving Corporate America to start their own gigs?  Our client data suggests these key themes:

  • The 8-5 just doesn’t cut it. Why do we need to be in the office 8-5?  This is an outdated work standard that needs to change.  This doesn’t mean women are not willing to work the necessary hours to get work done.  In fact, women business owners report working much longer hours than they did in Corporate America.  They integrate work and life.  If only corporate America could provide work from home flexibility or flex time to accommodate men and women that are caretakers or have other life duties.
  • Work must have meaning. Women, even more so than men, are looking for purposeful work.  They want to know that time away from their family matters.  Women want to be a part of building something bigger than just them that will impact the world positively.  What better way to ensure that, than to create something of your own.
  • Corporate America does not promote women (especially during the child bearing years).  This is sad, yet true. The recent McKinsey Women in the Workplace report illustrates this trend is not improving.  C-suites and corporate boards are still less than 20% women.  While women believe this will change early in their careers, after years of hard work without advancement, they opt out.  At least in their own businesses, they call the shots.

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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

How to Make Your Employee Resource Group More Successful

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

Employee Resource Groups have been around for decades.  Also known as affinity groups, business resource groups, or diversity and inclusion groups, they are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives.  A noble purpose indeed.  Yet, their impact on the bottom line is often questioned, and many organizations find it difficult to justify the time and funding necessary to ensure success.

After talking with a number of women’s employee resource group leaders experiencing similar pain points, I wanted to share the challenges and ideas to overcome them.  This article is for you if any of these barriers sound familiar.

Does your ERG…

  • Have a reasonable budget? If not, your organization is not serious about its success.  Studies show organizations that achieve gender equality invest to make it happen.
  • Have a strategic plan? When ERGs have a mission, vision, value proposition, and goals aligned with the business it supports, engagement and traction increases.
  • Have senior leadership support? To be successful, the most senior leaders need to be present and in the loop on ERG initiatives.  With organizations still hovering around 20% women in the C-suite, having male ally support is critical.

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gender equality, gender equality in business, gender equality in the workplace, diversity at work, diversity employment, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership

2018: A Year for Male Allyship

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Goal Setting, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | No Comments

2017 is coming to a close, and not much has changed for gender equality.  In fact, according to Catalyst’s March 2017 report, women account for:

  • 5.6% of CEOs
  • 19.5% of Board seats

When I share these data with leaders, I often hear, “Be patient, it’s changing.”  Yet, when we reflect on the journey of feminism, the statistics remain stagnant.  According to the Pew Research Center, women in 2007 accounted for:

  • 2.4% of CEOs
  • 14.8% of Board seats

In fact, gender equality organizations estimate that women will not balance men in pay for equal work until 2059.  Women still earn 83% of the salary of men in similar roles doing similar work.  Rather than voice frustration at these slowly changing statistics, let’s have a voice in promoting positive change together.  Let’s make 2018 the year where the statistics truly start to shift.

That means getting men involved the discussion.  We are not going to solve the gender equality challenge alone, or in rooms of women alone.  Men are decision makers and need to be included in the process.  And, they want to help.

Based on our interviews for ONE (copies available here), we confirmed common traits associated with successful women:  they engage men in their career development as mentors and sponsors, speak up for what they want, and draw clear boundaries between their personal and professional lives.  According to Harvard Business Review, we are 54% less likely than men to have a sponsor.  That’s because men in leadership roles seek to promote those resembling themselves.  On top of that, there are many unconscious biases still affecting women according to Joan C. Williams’ What Works for Women at Work:

  • The maternal wall:  If she has another baby, she won’t want the promotion.
  • The tightrope:  She’s so aggressive, she needs to tone it down or people will think she is a bitch.
  • Prove it again:  She did it once, but can she really do it again? Maybe it was a fluke.
  • Tug of war:  There are only so many seats for women at the table. I don’t want them stealing attention from me.

Let 2018 be the year we change the conversation from problems to solutions.  Leverage the strategies, ideas, and stories from ONE to bridge the gender equality gap in your organization.

  • Heart: “Channeling the Women You Empathize” for male allies, and “Starting the Dialogue with the WIIFM” (what’s in it for men) for women leaders
  • Story: “Asking for HERStory” for male allies, and “Sharing Your Story” for women leaders
  • Speak: “Speaking up with Her” for male allies, and “Speaking Up with Him” for women leaders
  • Work-Life: “Doing the Fair Share at Home” for male allies, and “Practicing Self-Care” for women leaders

For men, how will you support women leaders as male allies?

For women, how will you engage men as male allies?

Here are some actionable ideas for you to try:

  • If you do not have a male ally group, form one.
  • If your organization has a women’s professional development group, invite men to participate.
  • If you are a woman, seek out a male ally to garner support.
  • If you are a man, think about women that could benefit from your support.

Remember, organizations embracing male allies outperform those that do not.  You are leaving money on the table if you are not facilitating male allyship.  Becoming an ally is a journey.  Start your journey at NextPivotPoint.com.

We believe strongly in our message to spread male allyship and develop women leaders.  If you do too, share our mantra below or post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

WIIFM: What’s in it for Men that Support Women Leaders

By | Communication, Conflict Resolution, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention | No Comments

Gender diversity drives business performance.  This is something both genders benefit from equally. When opportunities, pay, and promotions are based on performance instead of gender biases, organizations thrive.  This is a competitive advantage for organizations that get it.  When there is gender equality in organizations, teams perform at a higher level and profits are higher.

It’s not a zero sum game, we all stand to benefit when we partner together.  And, we need male allies to support women leaders to make this happen.

Some key statistics to support increasing gender equality in your organization:

  • There is a 16% higher profitability rate with gender equality and $12 trillion could be added to the U.S. economy by 2025 if companies advance gender equality.
  • 91% of Americans choosing “agree” to the statement: “It is very important women have the same rights as men in our country.”
  • Women currently hold 5.6% of CEO positions in the U.S. and 19.5% of Board seats, and earn 83% of the salary of men in similar roles doing similar work.

At Pivot Point, we recommend women leaders share their stories with male allies.  We need to start the discussion with the WIIFM with our male allies.  This is why we have a section in our new book ONE:  How Male Allies Support Women for Gender Equality (get your copy here) dedicated to starting the dialogue with the WIIFM: What’s In It For Men (that support women leaders).

For women looking to engage male allies in the conversation and gain their support, we recommend the following blueprint.  Think of these as talking points to have in your back pocket as you prepare to start the dialogue with male allies:

  • I know you are busy, and I wanted to talk with you about my career path and gender equality at our organization. I see you as a great male ally for women because you have done X, said Y, or believe Z.
  • As a woman, I realize there can be unconscious biases impacting our career paths and the pay decisions made at organizations. Gender equality is important to me because when both genders partner together and have inclusive conversations like this, research shows businesses profits are 16% higher.
  • Currently, women continue to be paid 83% of what men in similar positions are paid, and only account for 5% of CEOs and 80% of board positions. I have noticed our organization has A% women in leadership and/or B% pay gap. What do you think?
  • Supporting gender equality is important to positively driving business performance. We can do this better together than separately.  Research supports men as mentors, sponsors, managers, coaches, advocates, and advisors have a big impact on women’s success. How do you think you can help women?

Even the male allies we interviewed indicated a low awareness of the gender inequities facing women in the workplace.  They see the world through their lens, which often has gender privilege.  They don’t know what they don’t know.  We need to involve them in the discussion so they know how to help.

How will you start the dialogue with your male allies?

We believe strongly in our message to spread male allyship and develop women leaders.  If you do too, share our mantra below or post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Work-Life Management: Practice Self-Care

By | Communication, Delegation, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Gender Equality, Leadership, Positive Thinking, Self-Care | No Comments

Work-life balance is impossible.  While women leaders and male allies want to achieve perfect balance between work and life, our research has found that this is not a realistic expectation for working families.  The two spheres live in conflict, where work may dominate one week, and life (family, caretaking, and self-care) may dominate the next.  It’s more like a teeter totter than a perfect balance beam.

In our work with women’s leadership groups, our survey data revealed the top challenge for the overwhelming majority of members is balancing work and life.  Digging into the facts, it is understandable that this challenge largely falls on women.

  • Women still spend more time on household labor averaging 2 hours and 15 minutes per day, while men average 1 hour and 25 minutes per day (a ratio of 62/38 women to men).
  • From 1997-2015, the number of businesses increased by 51%. Of that increase, 74% of the companies are women owned.
  • 24 million females in the U.S. care for others 25+ hours/week. In fact, they leave the workforce on average 12 years to care for children and relatives.

This illuminates the need for work-life integration for women leaders and families with dual careers.  When women feel trapped in jobs without flexibility, they self-select out of rigid corporate America.  If your organization is not engaging these women leaders, they are likely losing them.  These are smart, talented people who could bring tremendous value to our economy and to organizations, yet we accept – and even encourage – opting-out of their careers.  We make assumptions about the preference to be at home or need to be with the children, whereas the same assumptions are not often applied to working men.

With the challenge of managing work and life, women leaders tend to put themselves last.  This is why we have a section in our new book ONE:  How Men and Women Partner for Gender Equality (get your copy here) dedicated to practicing self-care.

Saying “Yes” to yourself is hard.  Rather than saying “Yes” to everyone else, choose to say “Yes” to the right things.  Remind yourself that you are saying “No” to a lot of things when you say “Yes” to the wrong things.  For women looking to practice self-care, we share these strategies from ONE:

  • Outsource activities you do not have the skill or will to do. For example, we hired a housekeeper to clean our house once a month, and have enjoyed the ROI of having more time with my family, and more energy and time to do the really important things professionally and personally.
  • Say no to FOMO (fear of missing out). Prioritize what is important for you to be happy, overcoming the fear of missing out on the wrong things.  Social media is a big influence here. Before you say “Yes,” remember it means “No” for something else that may be important.  Do say “No” if something does not drive your happiness.
  • Get more sleep. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night.  Unless you have a genetic mutation, this means you.  Very few women we coach get the required seven hours of sleep per night, which is dangerous for their health.
  • Implement the 80/20 rule. Make sure 80% of your energy is aligned with your “why”.  Twenty percent is for the other stuff (routine tasks, things only you can do, etc.).
  • Show compassion for others. Find everyday-ways to genuinely, meaningfully help others.  Giving fuels our energy.
  • Practice gratitude. Journal what you are grateful for each day.  Intentionally choose to focus on what is good in your life.
  • Have a plan. If you do not know what you want and where you’re going, you will fall victim to others deciding for you.

Remember that women leaders that practice self-care, manage their work and life more successfully.  They have more energy to give to others, and are more likely to achieve career success and be happy personally as well.

We believe strongly in our message to spread male allyship and develop women leaders.  If you do too, share our mantra below or post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Negotiation: Ask for What You Want

By | Communication, Confidence, Conflict Resolution, Diversity, Gender Equality, Leadership, Positive Thinking | No Comments

Research shows that men are four times more likely to negotiate than a woman.  Women leaders do not speak up and ask for what they want, especially if it feels selfish.  Yet, women are more successful negotiators than men when negotiating on someone else’s behalf.  We have the skill, just lack the will.  This is why we have a section in our new book ONE:  How Men and Women Partner for Gender Equality (get your copy here) dedicated to speaking up.

For women looking to strengthen your negotiation skills, practice:

  • Channeling your purpose and passion
  • Opening the discussion from a place of positive intent and common ground
  • Aligning your ask with your audience’s wants to find win-win solutions

Channeling your purpose and passion

Humans are wired emotionally.  We are far more likely to take action based on a strong purpose or “why” than the tactical “what” or “how.”  Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why, articulates this beautifully with proven research.  That means that when we decide to negotiate, knowing why we want what we want is pivotal.  And, when we share our ask with conviction, passion, and confidence, our audience is more likely to respond positively.

Preparation pays off.  Thinking about what you want, why you want it, and how it will work is key.  We encourage women leaders to document their negotiation plan.  Outline the what, why, and how, focusing on your unique purpose and passions.

Choose your battles.  Ask for what you want that align most with your purpose and passion areas.  We may get finite chances to ask for it, so it is important to be strategic and focus on what you truly want vs. nice to haves.  Reflect on this question, what is one thing that will have the greatest impact on me (personally, professionally, etc.)?  That’s your winner.

Opening the discussion from a place of positive intent and common ground

Establishing common ground early in a discussion is important.  With our plan in hand outlining our what, why, and how, we’re armed and ready to initiate a dialogue.  Once we have stated our ask, pause and take a breath, and ask our audience, “what do you think?”  Such a simple, yet powerful question.  When we ask the question early, we involve the audience in the discussion and facilitate a brainstorm collaboration vs. the oppositional “what I want” vs. “what you want” unproductive conversation ping-pong.  This establishes common ground based on both parties’ interests.

Positive intent is a game changer.  Assume your audience has positive intentions, just as you do.  Most people are good people.  That means they want to help us.  By putting yourself out there with your ask, you have demonstrated vulnerability, and most people respond by mirroring that vulnerability.  If you are communicating with the decision maker, assume that they are aligned.  They just need to understand the what, why, and how of your ask to get there.

Aligning your ask with your audience’s wants to find win-win solutions

Remember that you have likely been thinking about your ask much longer than the party you are speaking with.  This may be the first time they have thought about it.  To facilitate their thinking, ask lots of open-ended questions.  Powerful questions start with “what” and “how,” or my personal favorite “tell me more.”  Good negotiators listen more than they speak.  They take copious notes and have already anticipated what their audience may want too, or what their questions will be.

In your preparation plan, make sure to brainstorm areas of alignment.  Where are the places you both win.  Offering up something that helps your audience early encourages them to engage and support you.  Emphasizing commonality vs. differences bridges the gap in perceptions.  Be sure to give your audience space and time to think too.  Once you have articulated the what, why, and how, and asked at least three questions, it’s okay to back off.  Do be sure to schedule a follow up time to talk, or ask for the expectation of decision making time frame.  There is nothing worse than having the tough talk, and then nothing happening.  It’s your job to follow up.

My women’s leadership crush

I had the thrill of meeting one of women’s leadership crushes last month at a conference.  I actually spoke after her, which was surreal.

Linda Babcock, author of Ask for It, taught us a simple four step process to practice to be better negotiators.  It reinforces this approach.  Above all, practicing the negotiation conversation is critical for success.  When we practice, we have a vision of success during the real discussion.  We’re far more likely to be confident when prepared.

Her steps include these phases:

  1. Identify what you want
  2. Make a plan
  3. Get ready strategically
  4. Get ready psychologically

We believe strongly in our message to spread male allyship and develop women leaders.  If you do too, share our mantra below or post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

 

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Five Questions to Ask to Get the Gender Equality Conversation Started in Your Organization

By | Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Gender Equality, Leadership, Talent Retention | No Comments

Organizations that believe and achieve gender equality outperform those that do not.  Yet, this is often a delicate conversation to begin within organizations.  Even for those that deeply believe in it.  Leaders just do not know how best to achieve it.  Men want to be male allies, yet sometimes do not know how or what to do.  The fear of saying the wrong thing, or being labelled a feminist still holds men back.  And, women leaders do not speak up and ask for what they want, especially if it feels selfish.

That’s why we wrote ONE:  How Men and Women Partner for Gender Equality (get your copy here).  Think of it as a guide packed with strategies, ideas, and stories for male allies and women leaders to partner together.

We are lucky that our readers have given us feedback already.  They really want a discussion guide to get the dialogue started in a healthy, productive way.

You asked, we listened…

Five Questions to Ask to Get the Gender Equality Conversation Started in Your Organization

  1. What would our organization look like if our gender equality goals were met…
  2. What are we missing out on by not maximizing the talents of both genders…
  3. What do we see that tells us we have room to improve our gender equality…
  4. What are examples of times we have gotten gender equality right…
  5. What is one thing I can do to make a positive impact on gender equality at our organization…

We believe strongly in our message to spread male allyship and develop women leaders.  If you do too, share our mantra below or post your stories and thoughts with these hashtags:  #genderequality #ONE #heforshe #maleallies #femaleadvocacy.

Our Mantra

I believe in gender equality.  I believe women and men, partnering together for gender equality, is what is best for all humans.  By collaborating together, we will improve the lives of future women leaders and girls who will grow up in a world where anything is possible.  My voice matters.  I make choices every day supporting gender equality.  We are all in this together.  I commit to supporting male allyship.  We are stronger together.  We are ONE.

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Start the Dialogue.

  • Get our guide, The 5 Questions to Start the Gender Equality Conversation.