Bozoma Saint John: 4 Takeaways for Increasing Gender Diversity in the Workplace

Bozoma Saint John speaks at Galvanize 2019

Photo courtesy of Fairygodboss

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April 24, 2024 at 7:56PM UTC

Last year, the World Economic Forum reported that it will take an estimated 217 years to achieve gender parity versus where we stand today at 202 years. So while we are moving in the right direction, the pace of progress is not fast enough. 

To tackle this problem, Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women, gathered 300 leaders at Galvanize 2019 in New York City. Throughout the two-day summit, leaders from Deloitte, Salesforce, IBM, Facebook, Nielsen and Google shared insights and identified strategies to accelerate the path to gender parity in the workplace.

Bozoma Saint John, award-winning marketing executive and the Chief Marketing Officer of William Morris Endeavor, was a keynote speaker who weighed in how we can improve diversity in the workplace.  Here are 4 key takeaways from Bozoma’s discussion at Galvanize. 

1. We must be in charge of diversity — even if it’s not your job.

Saint John believes that in order for progress to be made, we all must be in charge of diversity — whether or not it’s your job. When she was the Chief Brand Officer at Uber, she was constantly asked if she was the chief diversity officer. She wasn’t — but as a six foot tall black woman, she knew that she represented diversity wherever she went, and embraced the responsibility. 

This mentality — that ownership of diversity is up to all of us — is ultimately the change in mindset that will accelerate the path to gender equity at work.

2. We must increase the pipeline of female talent.

When asked about the future, Saint John asserted that changes in the workplace can happen if we improve the pipeline of qualified female talent. “Advancing gender diversity in 2020 means we have to push harder than we are right now,” she said. “If we don’t have women in the pipeline who are going to advance to senior leadership then we’re not going to find senior leaders who are women or people of color. This means we have to ensure that what’s happening in our workplaces today is working towards gender parity in the future.”

3. We must be inclusive of all women.

Saint John believes that we can’t stop working towards gender equality until women of all backgrounds are equally represented in the pipeline. “One of the biggest challenges within our sisterhood is that the efforts of feminism have benefited white women and left others behind,” she said at Galvanize. “When we talk about gender equality and pay equity, we cannot forget that this friction between women exists. I believe that it’s the responsibility of white women to bring everyone along. Let’s not stop when only some of us have reached the pinnacle.” 

4. We must give women credit.

When asked how men can be stronger allies to women in the workplace, Saint John said that men must speak up and give women credit where credit is due. “Men can be stronger allies simply by supporting the roles and advancement of women," she said. "Even if you’re not a manager, make sure women are invited to meetings, repeat what women say and give them credit for their ideas. That’s a great way to show support and be an ally.”

Your 2020 Blueprint for Gender Diversity in the Workplace.

For more tips to help your company accelerate the path towards gender equality and increase business results, we’re excited to release our latest resource, The 2020 Blueprint for Gender Diversity in the Workplace, which compiles key takeaways from Galvanize 2019.

Inside, get tips from diversity leaders who share five steps to building more diverse workplaces, including how to: 

  1. Take your diversity investment up a level

  2. Build your pipeline of qualified female talent 

  3. Engage male allies

  4. Seek buy-in from the top

  5. Rethink the future of work

Download the Blueprint

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