Reframing the "Women in Leadership" Discussion: It's an Opportunity, Not a Problem

A lot has been said and will continue to be said about women in leadership, but I think this HBR article has some refreshing ideas:

"...It is time to shift the discussion away from a lingering women’s problem or an issue of equality and instead focus on this as a massive business opportunity. Instead of continuing to discuss the problem, we ought to present solutions: roadmaps to businesses that are better balanced, arguments that help companies and managers understand and benefit from shifting global gender balances. The shift is away from wondering what is wrong with women who don’t make it to the top, and towards analysing what is right with companies and leaders that do build gender balanced leadership teams – and tap into the resulting competitive edge."

The author, Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, goes on to explain that to create balanced workplaces, we must integrate men and women into the same spaces. That means we have to let go of common practices that separate women and their ideas from the rest of the of the workforce:

"...Today, many managers (both male and female) are totally uneducated in all things gender...So we must educate them. Stop creating internal, women-only networks — replace them with mixed-gender networks aimed at balancing management, rather than promoting women. Almost no one is against balancing, while many men and women alike are uncomfortable with targeted quotas for women. Men feel that they are deeply unfair, while women are insulted at the idea of being perceived as getting promotions only because of their gender."

How would Wittenberg-Cox's ideas play out in your workplace?

photo credit: marsmet472 via photopin cc