As I opened my email this morning one of my daily reads had this lead, “LeanIn.org and McKinsey have released the latest installment of their Women in the Workplace survey, and it does not make for pleasant reading.” Not the best way to start the morning but a good reality check. “Now in its fourth year, the survey shows ‘almost no progress’ in improving the representation of women in corporate America.” Read more in today’s Fortune CEO Daily plus you can find the survey here. On that topic, here is a recommended read for the week: “Women Managers Have Little Margin for Error.”
Last week I had an interesting conversation regarding corporate diversity and the person I was speaking with focused on the importance of leading from the top. In other words, if companies are serious about diversity, that needs to start at the corporate board level. I completely agree, which is why reading about “diversity fatigue” at the board level is disappointing – especially if you look at the numbers. Yes as the Race Ahead newsletter mentions, there has been some progress – 16% increase in 10 years but that’s not enough.
I’ve written before about corporate board diversity and the work of organizations including the Latino Corporate Directors Association, Women Corporate Directors and the Executive Leadership Council. This year California became the first state to require women on boards and there is an initiative called 2020 Women on Boards working to increase the percentage of women on corporate boards to 20%. In recent weeks we have seen business leaders like Jessica Rodriguez and Cindy Kent named to the corporate boards of Burlington Stores, Inc. and Best Buy respectively. I know that because of their contributions they will demonstrate, once again, the value of diversity. I hope shareholders and stakeholders continue to keep companies accountable and that this “fatigue” is temporary – as there is still significant work to be done. Here is a link to the PWC report which has other interesting findings.
Here are some other recent stories and opinion pieces: “Local VCs Launch Initiative to Make Chicago’s Tech Community More Diverse,“ “CAA Launches ‘The Hubb’ Summit to Promote Diversity in the Music Industry,” “Sears catalog helped African Americans subvert Jim Crow,” and “Inside Facebook’s Stormy Debate Over ‘Political Diversity’.” Also, Sallie Krawcheck’s piece “Everything you think you know about promoting diversity is wrong. Here’s how to do it” has some valid and important points. Note I still think there is value in ERGs or Affinity Groups.
To end on a more positive note, ICMYI “Shonda Rhimes: ‘I Am The Highest-Paid Showrunner in Television,’” to which I say, bravo!