5 Simple Questions to Get the Gender Equality Conversation Started in Your Organization: #2

Gender equality is a candid conversation.  Ask what are we missing out on by not maximizing the talents of both genders?

People sincerely dislike missing out on something.  The old adage, “no pain, no gain,” captures this well.  We do not change for change’s sake.  We need to feel some pain to want to change.  That is why we like to start the conversation on gender equality with, “what are we missing out on?”

This question, as all of our gender equality conversation starters, does spur some debate.  That is a good thing.  High performing teams have healthy debate.  They invite different perspectives to be better.  We found this to be true for many diverse organizations in our “Pivot Point” podcast season two.  In fact, we have an episode dedicated to “Welcoming Diverse Perspectives” with leaders in the diversity space.

Rarely are organizations at gender parity

I often get the response, our industry (tech, finance, etc.) is not diverse.  Find me an industry that is diverse.  Education?  Health care?  Look at the top, not likely to be diverse.  The fact is that most C-suites remain 20% women, across all industries.  Non-profit may be the only industry touting consistently above this.

So, if we are not gender neutral at the top, how do we capture what is missing?  How do we quantify the pain?

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Follow up questions clarify the pain

The gender equality conversation is not a one and done.  That is why most steer clear of it to begin with.  It is complex.  It is messy.  Dig deeper with follow up questions to find the pain…

  • What percentage of women vs. men are we retaining (or losing to negative attrition)?
  • What is the breakdown women vs. men in promotions?
  • Have we measured the pay gap women vs. men? If not, when will we?  If so, what are we doing to close the gap?

Pain is healthy

These questions elicit pain.  Healthy pain.  It helps people see that we are not equal, yet there are activities and discussions we can have to close the gaps.  By not bridging the gaps, we are losing top talent, not paying people equally, and not likely rewarding talent equally.  It is not likely that people will work for an organization long-term that does not have equal advancement opportunities and does not pay people equally.  Men as allies often cite disgust for organizations equally to women when the answers to these questions are negative.  And, male allies along with women leaders are demanding more from their organizations to actively solve this problem.

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 do we see that tells us we have room to improve our gender equality…”

Gender equality is a candid conversation.

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

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