October is not only Diversity Awareness month, it’s also Down Syndrome Awareness month. Down syndrome is the most common genetic condition, in the US alone 6000 babies are born with Down syndrome each year. I am sharing two stories with you today, the one is about Sofia, a 7 year old girl with Down syndrome who talks about her condition – the other one is about Amanda Booth, a US model (for Lancôme etc.) and her journey with her now two year old son with Down Syndrome.
Thomson Reuters just released their 2016 Diversity Index that is ranking the top 100 most diverse and inclusive companies, measured by 24 different metrics across 4 pillars. Cisco came 4th in the US and 9th overall, Microsoft 6th in the US and 22nd overall. Read more here.
LinkedIn just released their 2016 Diversity Report and while they are doing better than the industry in regards to women in their total workforce (42%) this number has not changed since last year and they made only slight improvements in regards to women in tech roles (20% vs. 18% last year) and minorities (Black and Latino at 3% and 5%, vs. 2% and 4% last year). They did make good progress in regards to women in leadership roles though (35% vs. 30% last year). Read more here.
Girls in STEM
Accenture, together with Girls who Code, just released their latest report on the gender gap in STEM, showing that the share of women in tech jobs is declining – and if we don’t intervene now, the prediction is that the number of women in the US computing workforce will drop from 24% to 22% by 2025! They suggest that girls need to be approached with specific programs at an early age (before High School) to overcome stereotypes and make sure they stick with it.
A very interesting HBR article on the reasons why diverse teams perform better. A lot of studies have shown over the past years that diversity (race and gender but also culture, etc.) has a positive impact on the success of a team. According to various studies diverse teams are feeling less comfortable and have to work harder – which has a positive impact on the outcome.
Girls in STEM
The popular streaming service Netflix and Girl Scouts USA are joining forces to empower girls and help them pursue a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Netflix kicked off the collaboration with inviting girls to their headquarters in California, where they met up with inspiring females from various companies like Google and Instagram and have also launched an online toolkit “STEM Superstars Guide”. Read more here.
A very interesting law has just been introduced in Seattle – landlords have to rent out their housing to the first qualified applicant. According to the lawmakers, landlords tend to select – consciously or unconsciously – certain types of people and often skip people with foreign sounding names, people of colour or families with children.
3 weeks ago I told you about the new family responsibility leave policy that was introduced by Deloitte. On Wednesday, Chobani, the popular Yoghurt brand, has announced that they will start offering parental leave to all new parents, including their male factory workers. Offering such a benefit to all employees is not only a great tool for retention, but can also have a positive impact on reducing biases against women.
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.