CEOs of 27 companies, including Coca-Cola and Bank of America, have pledged to accelerate women’s progress to the top management levels. Their ambitious goal is to have gender parity in their corporate leadership by the year 2030. These CEO’s have joined a coalition organized by Paradigm for Parity which has laid out a five step plan to help these companies reach their goal.
For years, we’ve been hearing lip service from organizations about how they’re committed to reaching gender parity, but Paradigm for Parity is actually offering a roadmap for organizations on how to get there. That said, their five step plan is not without flaws, and one of their steps may actually make the situation worse for women at work. Here are some thoughts on their five suggestions for achieving gender parity at work.
1. Eliminating or minimizing unconscious bias in the workplace.
This is a particularly ambitious goal because unconscious bias is just that – unconscious. It’s hard to control our unconscious, and the truth is that most of us have some biases against female leaders. (Think you don’t? Try out a test on this Harvard University website.) Unconscious bias stems from gender stereotypes that we tend to hold about typical characteristics of men and women. The activation of these stereotypes is often involuntary and it happens so quickly that we’re not even aware of it. Paradigm for Parity suggests that management should be trained on the pervasiveness of this type of bias.