The Prescription For More Gender Diversity in the Workplace? Fix Middle Management.

Christy Johnson CEO, Artemis Connection

Christy Johnson

CEO, Artemis Connection

This summer, Fairygodboss, an online career community for women, and Artemis Connection, a consultancy that focuses on aligning strategy and team, were pondering a few important facts:

  • American corporations have recently instituted many changes to help promote gender diversity, including everything from diversity targets, enhanced maternity leave and bias training to flying nannies.

Conventional wisdom says that corporate change is best driven from the top down (see John Kotter, Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School). However, nearly half of women in Fairygodboss say that women are not treated equally in their workplace.

33% of women on Fairygodboss say their experience "depends on the manager," which suggests that CEO initiatives are necessary but not sufficient.

Managers are disproportionately male, so to make companies more gender diverse, we will have to change the behavior of managers.

We dove into research and found the MARC project at Catalyst, but not much else. Our questions were:

  • Do men think gender diversity in general is an issue?
  • Is it an issue at their workplace?
  • What do men think the barriers are?
  • Do managers perceive different barriers than non-managers?

This exploration was designed to clarify these questions and add insight into the attitudes of men in the workplace, uncovering their motivations, hopes and concerns for the future of women in the workplace (not to be confused with research).

 

So how to change the behavior of male managers?