It’s a difficult dichotomy to reconcile: There’s no doubt that progress for women in the workplace over the past decades has been significant and important. Yet, it will still take 100 years to reach gender parity in the workplace
, according to a major study by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Co. On February 2 at the MAKERS Conference
in Ranch Palos Verdes, CA, Joanna Barsh
— a Director Emerita of McKinsey & Co who is a Fairygodboss in every way to Fairygodboss
, and to many, many other women across America, gave a new presentation
that outlines the business case for gender equality and prescribes clear, actionable steps for employers to take.
The Business Case
Barsh highlights how now, more than ever, the business case for gender equality in the business world is clear. Recent estimates suggest that the US economy could see a $2.7 trillion improvement if women’s labor force participation reached the same level as men’s. And, so-called “feminine leadership” brings a different set of traits to the boardroom, which helps bolster the strength of an organization and the diversity
of its decision-making.
The Stats: Accelerating the Advancement of Women at Work
According to data cited by Barsh, women are indeed advancing in the workplace — and yet, there seems to be a “frozen middle” past which women don’t seem to advance. Meanwhile, the pay gap persists — due to a variety of causes, including women taking on more part-time
work, more career interruptions and self-selection into lower paying industries and roles. The bottom line is that the pipeline of talented women appears blocked in mid-career - and leaks great female talent. Why does this happen? According to Barsh, women struggle with managing care-taking responsibilities and perhaps just as importantly - most managers are men who mean well, but lack the training, empathy or courage to address the challenges their female reports face.
The path to improvement:
Barsh concludes there are clear steps to help solve the pipeline problem and create systematic change,including humanizing the work environment, enabling women to grow, and perhaps most importantly - activating leaders/management
who can help create and support change. So many companies and their leaders want to help create gender equality within their companies but the challenge lies in the execution. Barsh’s insights provide both the incentives as well as the blueprint for companies to bring about the gender parity in the workplace we all hope to see. Joanna Barsh’s slides can be found here
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