Colleen Ammerman is the Director of Gender Initiative at Harvard Business School. She has authored various articles and teaching materials on gender and work, and her research with Harvard Business School Alumni examines how race, gender, and other factors shaped their life and career experiences after grad school.
Her colleague is Boris Groysberg, Professor of Business Administration. He is the author of the award-winning book Chasing Stars: The Myth of Talent. A frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, Boris has written more than 100 articles and case studies on how firms hire, engage, develop, retain, and communicate with diverse talents to create inclusive cultures.
Their book, Glass Half Broken: Shattering the Barriers That Still Hold Women Back at Work, aims to peel open the curtain on the pervasive managerial actions and organizational obstacles that perpetuate the gender gap. They are joint guests in this week’s episode of Love In Action, sponsored by Duck Creek Technologies.
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A special thanks to our sponsor, Duck Creek Technologies for making the episode possible. Built for insurance, by insurance. Duck Creek Technologies offers the vision and tools you need to drive your business in 2021 and beyond. Visit www.duckcreek.com to learn more.
- We’ve made high strides in the fight for gender equality for the last 10-15 years, Marcel says. The gap between the percentage of men and women in the workplace has been the lowest in history as of two years ago. However, women remain underrepresented in positions of authority, despite making up roughly half (and sometimes the majority) of the workforce. [1:32]
- “It can be easy to be a little cynical and pessimistic when you realize how far we have to go even though we’ve made so much progress,” Colleen comments. “But doing the research for the book made me feel inspired and hopeful, after talking to a lot of people who were committed to being change agents.” [10:02]
- “[In writing the book], we were trying to do something that would be [both] rigorous and actionable,” Boris shares. “We were determined to write a book that will have practical implications for organizations [and] managers. The other thing that we were trying to do was… see if we could actually get men involved in creating more diverse and more inclusive organizations. If the [specific] group of people is not involved [in that process]… we will only make minimalistic progress, at best.” [11:07]
- Colleen witnessed first-hand how many women’s self-confidence had been chipped away when they realized their path to success was littered with seemingly impossible hurdles and obstacles. It’s a loss of human potential, she adds. Even women with advantages like education from Harvard were finding their paths blocked. [15:50]
- The main difference between men and women is sociological in nature, not biological, Colleen claims. Their behavior looks different, but if you investigate it, you will find that it’s because they are experiencing a different environment, even on the same team or in the same organization. The difficulties women face in moving up the ranks is due to how they are treated, and not caused by gender makeup. [19:26]
- Women fall through the cracks in moving up the ranks at every level, according to Boris. It happens in hiring, integration, development, promotions, compensations, and across the board. “This cumulative effect is why we have organizations that still aren’t very inclusive,” he remarks. “Additionally, many companies are more focused on the D in D and I. Diversity is about counting the numbers, but inclusiveness is about making the numbers count.” [29:27]
Boris Groysberg on LinkedIn
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