Changing the Game for Women

Increasing the number of women at every level of an organization is possible if its leaders are ready to use practical solutions.

How Women Manage the Gendered Norms of Leadership

A wealth of research shows that female leaders, much more than their male counterparts, face the need to be warm and nice (what society traditionally expects from women), as well as competent or tough (what society traditionally expects from men and leaders). The problem is that these qualities are often seen as opposites. This creates a “catch-22” and “double bind” for women leaders.

To alleviate this … [ Read more ]

How Women Can Succeed by Rethinking Old Habits

Everyone has self-limiting behaviors; this is simply part of being human. But our combined six decades of professional experience coaching and working with women in virtually every sector have taught us that even women at the highest levels can undermine themselves with specific self-sabotaging behaviors that are different from those that most frequently undermine men.

Expertise, connections, and personal authority are all non-positional kinds of power … [ Read more ]

Women in the Workplace 2017

More companies are committing to gender equality. But progress will remain slow unless we confront blind spots on diversity—particularly regarding women of color, and employee perceptions of the status quo.

Women Matter: Ten Years of Insights on Gender Diversity

A decade into our research, we highlight key findings—and invite 16 global leaders to look at how to increase gender diversity in corporations and imagine the inclusive company of the future.

This Might Help Explain Why Corporate Boards Are Still an Old Boy’s Club

Companies with the highest percentage of female directors have been shown to outperform on return on equity, return on sales and return on invested capital. They pay less to gobble up other firms. They have lower stock price volatility. And those with more women at the top have even been shown to have fewer governance controversies, such as bribery and fraud. Yet according to a … [ Read more ]

Here’s How to Wield Empathy and Data to Build an Inclusive Team

When Ciara Trinidad left her post as Lever’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion, the numbers made her understandably proud: The startup’s team of 125 people was 59% women, 39% men, and 2% gender nonconforming. Even the sales team — historically a male-dominated group — had a 50/50 gender split. “The product team was at about 40% white; the majority was a mix of every other … [ Read more ]

Research: Objective Performance Metrics Are Not Enough to Overcome Gender Bias

In various contexts, such as entrepreneurship and hiring, people often exhibit a preference for men over women when information about an individual’s quality (for example, their expected performance) is unavailable or unclear. Even when performance information is available, lab-based research has shown that women still tend to be disadvantaged, compared with men of equal quality. This double standard means women must outperform men to be … [ Read more ]

A Study Used Sensors to Show That Men and Women Are Treated Differently at Work

Gender equality remains frustratingly elusive. Women are underrepresented in the C-suite, receive lower salaries, and are less likely to receive a critical first promotion to manager than men. Numerous causes have been suggested, but one argument that persists points to differences in men and women’s behavior.

Which raises the question: Do women and men act all that differently? We realized that there’s little to no concrete … [ Read more ]

How to Keep Perceived Bias from Holding Back High-Potential Employees

When talented people from diverse backgrounds fail to rise in a company, there are three powerful solutions: having more inclusive team leaders, more diversity among the top leadership, and better sponsorship practices.

Cracking the Glass Ceiling

Despite the gains made by women in the job market in recent decades, the access of women to the upper levels of the business hierarchy remains limited. A vast literature seeks to explain the barrier to female advancement widely known as the “glass ceiling,” which is regarded as “an egregious denial of social justice,” at least by the U.S. Department of Labor. But the two … [ Read more ]

Research: Men Get Credit for Voicing Ideas, but Not Problems. Women Don’t Get Credit for Either

A lot of research suggests that those who speak the most in groups tend to emerge as leaders.

But does it matter who speaks up, or how they do it? In a forthcoming article in Academy of Management Journal, my colleagues Elizabeth McClean, Kyle Emich, and Todd Woodruff and I share how we explored these questions in two studies. We found that those who speak up … [ Read more ]

The Five Ways Work Isn’t a Level Playing Field

In the office or in a lecture hall, women are no less capable than men, biologically and intellectually. Yet gender disparity, equal pay, and other gender issues persist. Why? Even with programs that seek to create gender equality becoming increasingly common, men and women are working on an uneven playing field. Here are five ways the work environment is unfair, and what women — and … [ Read more ]

To Understand Whether Your Company Is Inclusive, Map How Your Employees Interact

To gauge the impact of diversity and inclusion efforts, companies typically track metrics on the hiring, attrition, promotion, and composition of the current workforce. While such statistics are useful, they don’t provide a fully accurate picture. In reality, diversity and inclusion are not merely the number of nonwhite male employees you have. Rather, a truly inclusive organization contains a diverse cross-section of employees who actually … [ Read more ]

Miles to Go: Stepping Up Progress Toward Gender Equality

There are 10 gender “impact zones” that need to be addressed in order to accelerate progress toward gender parity.

Does Gender Diversity on Boards Really Boost Company Performance?

Many commentators suggest that gender diversity in the corporate boardroom improves company performance because of the different points of view and experience it offers. However, rigorous, peer-reviewed academic research paints a different picture. Despite the intuitive appeal of the argument that gender diversity on the board improves company performance, research suggests otherwise.

Results of numerous academic studies of the topic suggest that the presence of more … [ Read more ]

How to Accelerate Gender Diversity on Boards

Slow progress in adding more women to boards has dominated the conversation. But tips from standout companies are more likely to inspire others to take firmer action.

Breaking Down the Gender Challenge

To make meaningful progress on gender diversity, companies must move beyond the averages and focus on the biggest pain points.

Where Are All the Women?

You want to hire women. And women want to be hired. So what’s the problem? You need to change your game plan and make your rules more flexible. Here’s how to get started.