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News from our Kiwi Friends...

In its Census of Women's Participation, published today, the Human Rights Commission outlines where women are losing past gains, and is particularly critical of private companies.
"The corporate sector remains an embarrassment for New Zealand in terms of diversity of governance, at a time when women are increasingly consumers, customers, clients, employers, employees and investors," the report says.
It is perplexing that boardroom doors are shut to women at a time when global business requires transformation."
 And from the U.K.
"According to Beverley Skeggs, professor at Goldsmiths, University of London, the gender pay gap between graduates is not improving. ' are much less likely to get equivalent jobs, they are less likely to be promoted as quickly so there is absolutely phenomenal gender inequality in our society that hasn't been addressed," she remarked."
Exec Women Fired More...Choose Departures More
I tried to read the original report, but the best I could do was find an article in Time that had some meat about it and the Oregon State Universtity news release.
"Women executives  are more likely to be asked to leave than men (2.9% versus 0.9 %), plus more likely to leave on their own accord (4.3% versus 2.8 %), says the study, which was conducted analyzing Standard & Poor's information on 1,500 firms, and was published in October's issue of Economic Inquiry. "The evidence suggests that women are being drawn out and forced out at higher rates. However, we don't see too much evidence of a systematic pattern in the types of firms that are forcing or having women drawn out," says lead author John Becker-Blease, an assistant professor of finance at Oregon State University. 'So, in a sense, it seems the playing field is uniformly tilted against women across firms.'"

Here's an interesting related statistic:  
Globally, senior male executives (75 percent of them) usually have a stay-at-home partner, while 74 percent of senior women executives have a partner who works full time.

Encountering Gender Fatigue
I've thought a lot about this as I've worked with F500 corporations this year. I see, especially in young women and many men in leadership, a belief that gender is no longer an issue in advancement decisions. This in spite of ample evidence to the contrary. HR execs who report statements such as, "she wouldn't want that position because she has a family" (so she's not even offered an opportunity to consider it) or who report that out of 40 or more managers viewed as high potential successors for executive positions none are women. And so I was pleased to come across the term "gender fatigue" in this Washington Post article by Selena Razvani.
"Others see gender discrimination as the reason why we're not experiencing change. Elisabeth Kelan, a scholar on gender in organizations, notes the shifting appearance of this workplace inequity. "The nature of gender discrimination has changed, moving from being blatant to being more subtle. The latter is much harder to detect and act upon. This does not mean that blatant gender discrimination has gone away―but subtle forms of gender discrimination are very common experiences in the workplace today, yet rarely expressed as such."
The phenomenon Kelan describes is called "gender fatigue," a state where people, as a default, tend to perceive their workplaces as gender neutral. Gender discrimination is seen as happening elsewhere or as incidents of the past that would not happen today. Most people don't want to believe that they work in and support a discriminatory workplace (or that they themselves discriminate), so they justify and rationalize that the discrimination doesn't exist.
I contend that the bystander effect is also at play. The more people there are in a given situation, the more we diffuse responsibility and assume "someone else will handle it." Many people know that gender inclusion is an issue, but think it's someone else's job or that another person is tackling it. Building on this observation, Bain & Company, along with Harvard Business Review, conducted a survey early this year that highlighted the levels of interest in parity work. They found that more than 70 percent of employees believe gender parity programs are failing. However, 84 percent of women surveyed believe that gender parity should be a strategic imperative for their company; while only 48 percent of men agree."
That's a lot of food for thought!

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls.  Follow her on Twitter.

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