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We Have to Break the Wheel

We Have to Break the Wheel

The more I think about it, the more panels I’m on about driving diversity, the more I believe that — in order to make real progress — we have to “break the wheel.”

In a world in which there is a lot of talk about the “business imperative of diversity,” but not nearly enough progress. A world in which the gender pay gap remains stubbornly in place. A world in which too many great business ideas are not funded because of who had the ideas. A world in which the diversity of a company is set at the “seed stage” — before it’s even really a company. And it rarely changes from there.

Whatever it is we’ve been doing is not enough.

Instead, middle management is where diversity goes to die, because as a group, it is so difficult to overcome our “unconscious bias” — that is, how we were brought up, what kind of people we were taught to prefer, what we’ve been told success looks like. So we can keep churning, or we can try something different.

What works: CEOs who decide to break the wheel at their companies.

They decide that enough is enough, and overrule their well-meaning-but-still-always-tending-to-promote-people-just-like-them middle managers. They simply close any gender and racial pay gaps. They change the make-ups of their leadership teams. No big song and dance about “the pipeline” or a new mentoring program. Those who have made real progress just act.

What works: individual people using their voices and their platforms to drive cultural change.

Like the brave people who are sharing their stories of harassment, despite the backlash and hate they know they will face. And the women venture capitalists who are coming together in #AllRaise (to bring more women into venture capital) and #FoundersforChange (to prioritize raising funds by seeking capital from diverse VC teams — Ellevest is an enthusiastic part of this).

And the women who are demanding change from their companies, be it a Google walkout or a Nike survey on a toxic work environment, putting their jobs at risk.

What works: people who are starting businesses that change it all for women.

Bumble, to change dating for women. Maven, to change healthcare for women. Rent the Runway and The RealReal, which are changing our relationship with our clothes and advancing sustainability (in great style). We hope Ellevest is one of those.

What works: we as individuals, when we decide to break the wheel in the businesses we support.

I think every day about a woman who, early on, told me, “I’m tired of supporting the businesses and institutions that have not supported me.” 100%. And she went on to say, “I no longer want to have my money managed at a company at which I wouldn’t want my daughter to work.” My (proverbial) jaw dropped. 1,000%.

This. This motivates us to build a better and better Ellevest every day. To provide a better way.

Half measures won’t work. If they were going to, they would have. It hasn’t been a pipeline issue for a long, long time. Whatever we were doing yesterday wasn’t enough.

How can we break the wheel?

Ideas? Thoughts? You know where to find me:

Read the original article here.


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