gender equalityThe national movement that’s begun in sports to hold domestic violence abusers accountable is both gratifying and long overdue.

I live in South Carolina, which for too long, has been one of the worst states for violence against women. State government is currently on a (hopeful) path to enact some meaningful legislation.

Interest and action in South Carolina were spurred by a tremendous series by the Post and Courier—articles were graphic and full of hard-hitting (no pun intended) domestic violence statistics. The movement in sports, especially the NFL, in addressing domestic violence finally took off after the horrific video of Ray Rice punching his fiance went viral.

Work on the-menace-that’s-racism is gaining traction and coverage as well. Thanks in no small part to several people sadly losing their lives.

While the engagement and attention are welcome and rewarding on both of these fronts, the need for the proverbial sharp stick in the eye before something happens puzzles me.

A recent Pew Research Center study reported that the gap in the representation numbers of women and men in senior leadership positions is based on perception and gender discrimination. Aliah D. Wright wrote about this research in an article on SHRM*:

“According to the research, ‘most Americans find women indistinguishable from men on key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation, with many saying they’re stronger than men in terms of being compassionate and organized leaders.’ Yet, four in 10 Americans said there is a double standard for women who want to climb into the upper echelons of management because they ‘have to do more than their male counterparts in order to prove themselves.’”

Like domestic violence and racism, sexism has been around for a long time.

The dismal statistics about women’s lack of representation in senior positions, on boards, and in politics gets reported over and over—without any significant social movement happening or business initiative taking root.

Why is that so?

Women in business know, all too well, the gender inequality impacts of unconscious bias, stereotypes, and covert discrimination—impacts that fuel frustration and broken spirits but that don’t leave black eyes, broken bones, or loss of life.

What is it going to take to jolt gender equality to the front page, to a trending social media topic, and to the top of every CEO’s to-do list?

Thoughts? Please share!

Image source before quote:  morgueFile.com | *didn’t link to SHRM article since it requires a membership

 

 

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