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What We’re Reading: Why Aren’t We Making More Progress Towards Gender Equity?

Systemic problems demand systemic solutions.
Focus on a woman at a meeting, with a troubled expression. Other women can be seen from the back.

By Chally Kacelnik

The article: Why Aren’t We Making More Progress Towards Gender Equity? by Elisabeth Kelan at the Harvard Business Review

What I think:

In my work and elsewhere, I keep meeting women who are exhausted. They tell me about being left out of information networks, that their ideas are ignored until they’re brought up by a male colleague (as his own), and that their female colleagues have been leaving because the relentless low key undermining of women is too much to bear. I also keep meeting women who downplay the impact of misogyny so that they can keep their heads down and focus on just trying to do their jobs.

Elisabeth Kelan offers practical advice for unpacking gender inequality at work, and it starts with undoing rationalisations that leaders use to deny that it is a factor in their organisation. It’s important to cause some dissonance between what Kelan calls the ‘paradox and the reality’ of what people want to think about their organisation (all good here!) and the actuality of daily behaviour. This advice is a refreshing change of pace from the usual: putting the pressure on women to be more assertive and empowered. As I always say, systemic problems demand systemic solutions. The focus needs to be on cultural change rather than distracting women with individualist (and sometimes pathologising) approaches that ultimately blame them, again, for not being enough.

At LKS Quaero, we support organisations to understand the social domain of their work. For more information, visit us at lksquaero.com or follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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