Diversity work has to move beyond the C-suite to drive real change

Companies need to revise hiring process to move gender diversity efforts out of the “nice-to-have” zone.

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Despite more talk about promoting more women, not much has changed over the last five years for women in the workplace, especially for black women and disabled women. 

In the Women in the Workplace report, McKinsey found that corporations have made no progress on hiring more women managers or hiring more black women or Latina women. In the survey of more than 68,500 employees, women reported that gender remains a barrier to advancement and that they still put up with demeaning or disrespectful remarks on a regular basis.

SEE: IT leader’s guide to achieving workplace diversity (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Women make up 21% of the C-suite in 2019 compared to 17% in 2015, which isa tiny improvement. The other only spot of progress is in working from home, significantly more people can do that now. 

McKinsey’s conclusion is stark: “We are many decades away from reaching gender parity at the highest ranks—and may never reach it at all.” This is the fifth year for the study.

McKinsey also calls out the fact that all women in the workplace do not have the same experience. In particular, black women and women with disabilities face more barriers to advancement, get less support from managers, and receive less sponsorship. Companies must directly address the unique challenges that different groups of women face.

What’s holding us back?

Men say that the biggest barrier to having an equal number of women and men in management is that there are too few qualified women in the pipeline. Women cite the fact that they are judged by different standards than men. HR leaders say that the problem is that…