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Workplace Equality – It’s Not Just About Gender

by Shannon Houde

This panel on DE&I was diverse in and of itself — with a Korean American, a Quebequois, a Canadian American immigrant and a gender non-binary representative. These speakers made us think differently and challenge our unconscious biases, as well as our use of terminology when discussing diversity. The covered issues such as representation of women in the workplace, Gen Z, getting a sponsor vs. a mentor, and non-binary gender definitions.

According to Anna Blue, Co-Executive Director of GirlUp, diversity is not just about women — it also includes race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, politics, age, generation, mental health & wellbeing.

Women are underrepresented at every level of the corporate hierarchy — and women of color are the most underrepresented group of all, lagging behind white men, men of color and white women. Two-thirds of women experience what is called “microaggressions” — subtle, indirect discrimination — in the workplace; and, fun fact: Fortune 500 companies are more likely to have a CEO named John than a female CEO.

McKinsey did its first “Women in the Workplace” study in 2015; since then, corporate America has done little to improve women’s representation. The 2018 McKinsey report, “Delivering Through Diversity” proved how diversity delivers financial results.

Caesars Entertainment’s VP of Equity, Strategic Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Lora Picini, noted that having a sponsor, rather than a mentor, is the most important thing a woman can do to advance:

“A mentor is someone who gives you advice, whereas a sponsor invites you to a meeting and introduces you to senior leadership to give you exposure.” — Lora Picini, Caesars Entertainment

Blue shared some impressive statistics about the next generation of talent, after Millennials: Gen Z. At 70 million, they are the largest generation in existence — which means that they will be 30 percent of the workforce and 40 percent of the consumer market by 2020. 65 percent of them will work in jobs that don’t yet exist, and that 67 percent support brands that take a stand on social issues.

Gender Spectrum Executive Director Lisa Kenney challenged the fact that we have been talking about gender from a binary perspective — men and women. On challenges around inclusion, Kenney pointed out, “We are talking about the fact that it’s not working but not about why it’s not working.” They noted that 12 percent of Millennials identify as transgender/gender non-conforming (according to a GLAAD-Harris Poll survey), and that they are the first generation to say they see gender as non-binary. Kenney also noted that we are excluding men from the gender conversation.

The takeaway: It’s not all about boys or girls, blue or pink; our world is no longer binary when it comes to gender and diversity.

 

This article was originally published on the Sustainable Brands website and can be found here.

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