They take the wrong approach. If we continue to rely on vague good intentions, meaningful change will take generations. Thirty years of social science, though, offers clear guidance on how to address the organizational issues that keep women out of leadership roles. Here are four steps to a social science-based approach:
Get serious. Too often, at the Center for WorkLife Law, we hear from women who want us to come speak to their leadership initiative, but are unable even to pay our expenses. Here's what we say: Don't accept an assignment unless you are given the resources you need to succeed in implementing it. That's standard business advice, and it's relevant here.
These women often are asked to shoulder new responsibilities on top of their existing workloads, often without a budget or administrative support. Then they find their efforts don't count when comp time rolls around. Only about 3% of women believe that contributions to diversity are valued in remuneration, according to my recent co-authored study of women law firm partners, New Millennium, Same Glass Ceiling?
A women's leadership initiative may well hurt women rather than help them if it requires them to spend time, with administrative support, on activities that distract them from activities the organization truly values and rewards.
Click here for full article in Forbes by Joan C. Williams.