Diversity is good for consumers and businesses; it leads to better decision making in all organizations. Studies have found that corporations with diverse boards and management teams are more profitable and better governed. To anticipate both challenges and opportunities on the horizon in a fast-changing world, all organizations need a diverse team offering a variety of perspectives.
We are often asked by thoughtful people if gender parity truly matters in our leaders. “Don’t we just want the most qualified candidate for the job? Can’t a man do a good job of listening to the needs of women” they ask? The answer is “yes, but.” At the organizational level, a male CEO can do a good job of representing the needs of women, but he would need a balanced team around him (chair of the board, senior leadership) to catch his blind spots. Furthermore, when we look at the higher level, across organizations, society needs collective diversity of leadership. It is never enough to have just one group control so much power, influence, and wealth.
Would you rather have me hire an unqualified woman over a qualified man?”
We need to expand the pool of candidates. We know there are more women than men graduating from college than ever before, often applying to jobs with the same qualifications as their male counterparts. Lack of qualified women is no longer an excuse.
We’re post-gender! Gender inequality isn’t a problem anymore.
This simply, is not true! Men still dominate top leadership positions across most sectors. According to Pew Research, women make up roughly 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and only 20 percent of Fortune 500 board members. In Massachusetts, the average woman makes only 82 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic male counterpart. It is 2018 and time for #GenderParityNow.
Of course I care, I have daughters!
That’s great; we’re a fan of daughters too! Help support their future careers and earning potential by advocating for and supporting women leaders in your organizations. These are the women your daughters will look up to.
But he’s a good guy.
Being a good guy has nothing to do with supporting female leaders in our organizations. There is a difference between saying you support women and taking actionable and visible steps in your organization and community.
I know him.
People tend to hire people that are like them, and source candidates from contacts that are also like them. If people in a position to hire or promote don’t intentionally source diverse candidates, the status quo will never change. Recruiters must be held accountable for ensuring a diverse, qualified pool of candidates is available. Decision-makers need to be willing to hire a qualified person they don’t know.