A great article from Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and LeanIn.Org founder, about the “Women in the Workplace 2016” study that was released this week. This study by McKinsey and LeanIn.Org surveyed 132 companies and concluded that we are not making any progress in regards to gender equality, especially when looking at leadership.
Huffington Post just released a new comedy series “Celebs Have Issues”, looking at equal pay, mental health or transgender rights. The first installment of the series is with the actress Kristen Bell, mocking the gender pay gap with the introduction of “Pinksourcing” for all companies who want to cut workforce costs.
Companies are trying hard to assist their employees work-life balance to improve retention. As part of these activities a lot of companies (for example Patagonia or Home Depot) have now realized how beneficial day care centers are. It does not only keep more women in the workforce, but increases employee engagement and overall retention. Read more here.
Edith Cooper, the Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs, published a very personal article about being a black woman in business and why companies need to encourage people to talk about race at work.
Meghan Sumner from Stanford University is researching the way we understand and remember spoken information – and our biases actually have a huge impact here. Accents for example can make a huge difference – but we also perceive male and females in a different way, even if they are saying the exact same words.
Salesforce made headlines last year when they invested over 3 Mio USD to reach gender pay parity and have done various programs in the past years to support D&I causes (they currently sit at 30% females total workforce). Last week they announced the hire of Tony Prophet (ex Microsoft) as their Chief Equality Officer, reporting directly into the CEO, Marc Benioff.
MTV did a very interesting interview with transgender men, asking them how they experience male privileges. “Privilege is the absence of experience” – and it can be very difficult for the other side to see that they are actually privileged (no matter if it is race, gender, sexual orientation etc.). These men share how they have experienced both sides.
Apple is currently sitting at 32% women in their total workforce and they put a lot of effort in changing their diversity numbers – but according to this Mic article, leaked Apple emails reveal that the company has a lot of issues with discrimination (both gender and race).
A very interesting article about age discrimination – 20% of the Americans 65 years and older are working (some have to, some want to) but there are a lot of 50+ year old who are struggling to find a job. Not because of their skills, but because of employers biases. For women, age discrimination starts even earlier (at 32, according to a recent study).
When Ebola hit Sierra Leone in 2014 it was a tough time for the West African country, thousands of people died and the economy still hasn’t recovered. But interestingly, it also helped female empowerment through changing gender roles – and FGM (female genital mutilation) was banned. This really interesting article describes the journey of a young woman whose life was changed when she started working on the burial team.
Deloitte US just announced their new 16-week paid family responsibility leave policy – which will not only include parental leave but also leave for a sick spouse or elderly parent, and can be taken once a year. This new policy will be very attractive to millennials and employees without children – and it will also help to drive acceptance of mothers going on maternity leave and hopefully reduce the bias women face in the workplace with employers worried about them potentially planning to have children.
The creative industry is mainly dominated by white males, but this is hopefully about to change. Two weeks ago I wrote about General Mills having a new tender for their creative agency, requesting female and minority teams. HP has done the same now with their agencies – they sent a letter to all five of them, giving them one month to come up with a plan to become more diverse and one year to implement that plan, otherwise HP would stop using the agency.
A very interesting Harvard Business Review article discussing if men and women should be treated differently in a work environment. For the past 30 years managers have been taught to treat men and women the same, without considering their differences.
This is the sweet story of a special McDonald’s employee who retired after 32 years. Freia David, a 52 year old woman with down syndrome, started working for the fast food chain through a special work placement program and had to retire last week due to early signs of dementia.
Norway has been having a few issues with right-wing and anti-immigration sentiments lately, but their King, who will be turning 80 next year, addressed this in a wonderful speech as part of his 25th anniversary as a monarch. He celebrated the diversity of his nation and included everyone living in Norway, regardless of race, sexual orientation, nationality or religion.
According to researchers there should be almost as many women on LinkedIn as men – but somehow the LinkedIn search (which has now been updated) showed male suggestions when looking for a female name – but no female names when looking for males. The reason for this might have been a biased algorithm, created by a human. Read more here.
Women in STEM
A very interesting HBR article looking at the reasons why so many women who study Engineering end up leaving the field during and after University. A lot of initiatives have tried to attract more females into the programs in the past decades – and women usually do as well or even better at school as their fellow male students – but they still leave. One of the major challenges is the masculine culture and the fact that women are not seen as equals in the field.
While one would assume that the Paralympics (starting next week) are all about inclusion, unfortunately this is not the case. Last week Vogue Brazil decided to do a photo-shoot in order to promote the Paralympics – but instead of using actual Paralympians for the campaign, they decided to use professional models and photoshopped them so they looked disabled. Considering that people with disabilities are completely underrepresented in media, this was a very questionable campaign. Read more here.
General Mills, the well-known US food manufacturer (Cheerios, Lucky Charms) is currently looking for a new creative agency – and one of their mandatory requirements is a diversity quota, the agency’s creative department has to consist of at least 50% women and 20% people of colour. More and more companies are starting to understand that in order to sell to their diverse customer base they need to have a similar representation on their side.
SAP is currently working on integrating new AI features into their HR management system SuccessFactors to help eliminate biases in the recruitment and retention process. The new features will alert of any biased language used in job descriptions, but will also support with eliminating biases during performance review and executive succession planning.