Sunday, July 14, 2024

Why We Must Fight For Diversity At The Top.

July 2, 2019 by  
Filed under Money/Business, Weekly Columns

( It may not come as a surprise to learn that there is a huge difference when it comes to how many women are in leadership roles in America compared to men. According to “The Women’s Leadership Gap” report, figures show that women constitute a majority of the U.S. population, 50.8 percent to be exact. Women earn more than 57 percent of undergraduate degrees and 59 percent of all master’s degrees; they make 48.5 percent of all law degrees and 47.5 percent of all medical degrees. Women also earn 38 percent of Master of Business Administration and other generalist degrees and 49 percent of specialized master’s degrees, and they account for 47 percent of the U.S. labor force and 52.5 percent of the college-educated workforce. However, despite this, women hold, in the legal profession, 45 percent of associates are women, but only 22.7 percent of partners and 19 percent of equity partners In medicine, women represent 40 percent of all physicians and surgeons, but only 16 percent of permanent medical school deans. When it comes to academia, women have earned the majority of doctorates for eight consecutive years, but are only 32 percent of full professors and 30 percent of college presidents. In the financial services industry, women constitute 61 percent of accountants and auditors, 53 percent of financial managers, and 37 percent of financial analysts, but only 12.5 percent of chief financial officers in Fortune 500 companies are women.

Taking these figures even further, for women of color, and for black women executives, this is even worse. According to the  Women in the Workplace 2018 report, only one in 25 C-suite leaders is a woman of color, four in 10 black women never have interactions with senior leaders about their work, for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 60 black women are and black women and lesbian women experience microaggressions at a higher rate than women overall, at 69% and 71%, respectively. The study also says, “Black women are far less likely to get help navigating organizational politics and balancing work and personal lives, and managers are less likely to promote their accomplishments. The same dynamic holds for access to managers: only about a third of black women socialize with their manager outside of work, compared to about half of white women.”

Thankfully, now that we’re in 2019 and people have started to take note of these figures, things have begun to change but more still needs to be done. Just recently, the Women in Law Empowerment Forum LLC (WILEF) awarded Ogletree Deakins, a leading labor and employment law firm, with its 2019 Gold Standard Certification which meant that the law firm was reviewed under a criterion that measures progress and opportunity for women employed by the firm. Key factors included assessing participation and representation in financial, leadership, and governance aspects of the firm, as well as the timing of promotions and career growth. To be awarded the certification, firms with more than 300 practicing lawyers are required to meet four of six qualifiers. However, Ogletree Deakins satisfied all six of the criteria. This is an excellent sign for women and the Legal industry and shows that progress is happening. 

The benefits of diversity in a business can not be disputed. Having a boardroom which is made up of several completely different mindsets, different approaches, and various inputs will likely cause more debates and discussion, but it will also create far better results for any business. Having more diversity will mean more creativity when it comes to products, services, and processes. Men and women think differently, but so do men and women from different backgrounds and cultures. People see things that others won’t, but customers might. As they say, two heads are better than one, and where more minds come together from different perspectives, there will no doubt be more diversification to new and different markets, which will lead to a broader customer base for any company. 

As companies grow and offer more, diverse companies attract more talent, as that is something people look for when looking for a job these days meaning that for a company there is a bigger and better talent pool to recruit from, meaning even more growth and diversity. 

Finally, companies are sitting up and taking inequality seriously, and while it might seem a little messy and disjointed at first, a recent study said that “While homogeneous groups felt more confident about their decisions than diverse groups, the former groups’ decisions were more often wrong compared to those of diverse groups.” This makes sense, and as countries become more mixed and more diverse, companies need to be too so that they can cater to the people they are serving.

Staff Writer; Shelia Jones

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