Resources for Diversity & Inclusion in Senior Management

Studies, surveys and real-world examples of what really works to move the needle on women in senior management. 

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“Women and Leadership 2018: Wide gender and party gaps in views about the state of female leadership and the obstacles women face”

– Pew Research Center (SEPTEMBER 2018)

This study measures Americans’ opinions about women and leadership. American women and men have widely different views about the kinds of barriers holding women back from top executive business positions and high political offices. Both women and men say people of both genders are equally capable when it comes to key leadership qualities, although they do identify certain areas where they believe men or women perform better. When it comes to the question of whether there are enough women in leadership, opinions differ based on the respondent’s political party and age.

A deep dive into women’s ability to create safe, respectful workplaces



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“Women in the Workplace 2018: Women are doing their part. Now companies need to do their part, too.”

– McKinsey & Company and Lean In (2018)

“Progress isn’t just slow – it’s stalled. And we know why.” Women are “leaning in” – asking for promotions, negotiating salaries and staying in the workforce at the same rate as men. But inequality starts early, with women less likely to be hired into manager-level jobs. In addition to aiming for equal promotion rates, companies must do more to quickly challenge and address biased behavior, everyday discrimination and microaggressions faced by women. This report outlines very specific steps companies need to take, from setting targets and accountability, to making senior leaders champions of diversity, to the specifics of fostering an inclusive and respectful culture.

Harvard Business School

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“A Punishing Double Standard for Women on Wall Street”

– Harvard Business School, Stanford University and University of Texas at Austin

Mark Egan, Gregor Matvos and Amit Seru

August 2018

Female financial advisors are 20% more likely than men to lose their jobs after an incident of misconduct, despite the fact their misconduct tends to be less likely and they have a lower tendency towards repeat offenses. This gap, however, disappears at firms with more female managers. Similar patterns exist for ethnic minorities. While this paper doesn’t examine approaches for changing this tendency, it does call new attention to the fact that “managers are more forgiving of missteps among members of their own gender/ethnic group.”

Boston Consulting Group


"Fixing the Flawed Approach to Diversity"

– Boston Consulting Group

"But many leaders still have blind spots regarding diversity. They underestimate the obstacles confronting an employee of a diverse group, perceiving a workplace with far less bias than actually exists. They launch programs that they think will yield improvements, but their decisions are based on gut instinct rather than proven results."

"Hiring people from diverse groups is easier than successfully addressing the deep-rooted cultural and organizational issues that those groups face in their day-to-day work experience."

This report recommends:

  • ANTIDISCRIMINATION POLICIES - "A well-crafted policy can effectively lay out the company’s values, and frequently and explicitly communicating such a policy to employees sends a signal that the company takes the issue of diversity seriously."

  • Formal training to mitigate biases and increase cultural competency - "The best programs lead with the ideas that everyone has biases and that although biases may be a normal part of being human, unconscious biases do have harmful effects. It’s critical that programs focus on actionable strategies, and they must be complemented by changes to programs and policies."

  • Eliminating bias from decisions related to evaluations and promotions "Many companies maintain that these processes are bias free, but rigorous examination of the data proves otherwise."

  • "The top hidden gem for women is having visible role models in the leadership team."

  • Parental leave, flexible work policies that are "reason-neutral", health care coverage, childcare assistance

  • Leadership commitment, including mentoring and setting strategic goals

  • Before launching, analyze how a program will function on a day-to-day basis to change the employee experience.

  • Establishing and tracking clear metrics, with KPIs that hold leaders accountable for results