2. Fast-track women in priority sectors
Last year, the New York Times reported
that, in 2018, there were more men named James on the Fortune 500 List of CEOs than there were women. And although the percentage of female CEOs went up slightly in 2019, only one of the women on the Fortune list of 500 is a woman of color.
Those dismal statistics help underscore the need for new ways to fast-track women in the most powerful and influential sectors.
We can start by creating new pathways into these sectors. In the not-so-distant past, leaders of male-dominated industries deflected responsibility by blaming their gender gaps on the “pipeline,” arguing that the reason they weren’t hiring more women was that there weren’t enough qualified women candidates. But we now understand that pipelines into male-dominated industries produce mostly male candidates, because, intentionally or not, they were designed that way. We need to replace these pipelines with a system of pathways that will create new entry points for a more diverse group of people to enter these fields.
Of course, it’s not enough to get women onto a career path if they aren’t empowered to succeed once they’re there. Researchers are learning more and more about what it takes to de-bias workplaces. Iris Bohnet
, a behavioral economist at the Harvard Kennedy School, is working with companies to identify and test a range of best practices for hiring, talent management, and changing workplace culture. She’s also compiled evidence-based recommendations that businesses can implement immediately—from increasing transparency around pay, to being intentional about how work is assigned, to redesigning the process
by which promotions are handed out.