Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Diversity in Corporate Leadership

McKinsey & Company has been publishing a "Women Matter" series, exploring the benefits that gender diversity bring to the workplace.

One of McKinsey's recommendations, is to educate men on the corporate challenges that women face. More than 50% of men surveyed were unaware that women have more difficulties than men. Of those who are unaware of the additional barriers women face, 2/3rds believe that diversity measures are unfair to men. [source]

Therefore, among McKinsey's recommendations for improving gender diversity in business is to educate all employees, from the very top to the brand newest hire, on the importance of gender diversity to a successful business. [source]
(more below the cut)

Since the McKinsey "Women Matter" material is focused on gender diversity, this is a good time to remind readers of this woman's blogpost: MY FEMINISM WILL BE INTERSECTIONAL OR IT WILL BE BULLSHIT!

Linda Tarr-Whelan, in her book Women Lead the Way: Your Guide to Stepping Up to Leadership and Changing the World (summary here) suggests that when the composition of a group reaches 30% women, or approximately 3 women on a typical Corporate Board of 10, the dynamics shift. When there are 3 women, the women board members begin to be seen not as tokens speaking for all women, but as individuals who have their own perspectives.

I have begun to write about the different kinds of feminisms that exist. I've written about or linked to global and  transnational feminism, technocratic feminism, and white feminism. One of the very valid critiques that Womanists and feminists of color have of white feminism is that most of the actions to date, particularly Affirmative Action, have benefited white women to the exclusion of women of color.

Catalyst recently released a report showing the under-representation of women of color in corporate leadership. [Infographic]

When the 1-2 women on a corporate board are white women, we do not have the background or knowledge to ensure that corporate policies support the customers, shareholders, and employees of color.