Articles for In the News

Recent Appointments: Women on Boards

by Julie Graber | on 11 Nov 2020

Recent announcements re: female board appointments. Note: where given, board demographics were current at time of announcement.

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Want to Retain Your Women Workers? Help Them Figure Out How

by Julie Graber | on 30 Oct 2020

Don't ask women to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to figuring out how to keep them in the workforce. It's time for companies to step up and offer better solutions to women workers before they walk out the door. 

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Diversity Laws Can Make a Difference

by Julie Graber | on 15 Oct 2020

California's board gender diversity requirements meant that Shift Technologies CEO George Arison couldn’t confine his search for directors to just his network (which he admits is mostly men). Now Shift's board of eight has three female board members. Diversity laws can make a difference.

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Acknowledging Your Bias Isn't Enough

by Julie Graber | on 29 Sep 2020

Acknowledging your bias is all well and good, and it may foster a sense of inclusion, but what will ultimately matter is whether or not diverse talent is nurtured inside the organization.

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Things A CEO Shouldn't Say

by Julie Graber | on 28 Sep 2020

Charles Scharf isn’t the first to say make a claim like there's a "limited pool of Black talent" and he won’t be the last, and while I realize little can be done to prevent an “off the cuff” comment, I don’t understand how it ended up being released in a memo. Isn’t anyone in charge of not letting the CEO say something so offensive?

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Filling RBG's Shoes: If Only "The West Wing" Was Reality TV

by Julie Graber | on 23 Sep 2020

Once upon a time, the process for confirming a new Supreme Court Justice took into consideration the broad ranges of values held across America instead of the extreme notions of a chosen few. It aimed at adding to the court the calibre of a legal mind worthy of replacing a Scalia or RBG, not a specific political viewpoint. And it was conducted with a respect for the power being entrusted in a group of nine individuals to protect our rights and guarantee justice for everyone, and instead of devolving into at trip through the sordid details of the nominee's memory lane. 

Or maybe that was just an episode of The West Wing.

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"Prior experience as a CEO" = "only white men need apply"

by Julie Graber | on 22 Sep 2020

Boards that use "prior experience as a CEO" as a screening tool, knowing how few Blacks (and women and people of color) will be able to meet this requirement, might as well just say "only white men need apply."

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Striking Out on Their Own Shouldn't Be Women's Only Option for Making Work and Family Work

by Julie Graber | on 11 Sep 2020

Women striking out on their own can be a great solution, but it shouldn't be the only solution. Women shouldn’t have to opt-out of corporate America to make work and family work.

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Companies Hit with Lawsuits for Lack of Diversity

by Julie Graber | on 3 Sep 2020

This is a running list of companies that have been hit with shareholder derivative lawsuits for claiming to have a commitment to diversity but lacking any evidence of it on its board and executive team. The list includes links to articles with more detail re: the lawsuits.

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Another White Guy

by Julie Graber | on 31 Aug 2020

I've threatened to do it for a long time - so here it goes - a running list of lost opportunities to create a more diverse, just world. It's the appointment of yet another white guy.

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It's the 100th Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote - Where's the Party?

by Julie Graber | on 26 Aug 2020

There were supposed to be big celebrations on August 26 - the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. With its ratification, women had secured the right to vote. But nothing about 2020 has been as we expected. And instead of big parties we’ve got virtual get-togethers and webcasts. If we can find the time to tune in. 

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Developing Leaders: One Size Doesn't Fit All

by Julie Graber | on 18 Aug 2020

When it comes to developing leaders one size doesn't fit all. Women and people of color - actually any one who's not in the majority - face additional challenges in developing their leader identity.

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Who's Ambitious? It isn't just white men.

by Julie Graber | on 14 Aug 2020

It's a myth that women and people of color lack the ambition needed to advance up the ladder. Ambition is a more complicated issue than either you have it or you don’t; it has to be recognized and supported to be sustained. 

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When it comes to talking about race, companies are still basically sending us the bug letter

by Julie Graber | on 11 Aug 2020

Even in the midst of a global reckoning on racial injustice, companies are still basically sending us the bug letter.

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Not the Same Old Diversity Doublespeak from Levi's

by Julie Graber | on 10 Aug 2020

Levi's CEO Chip Bergh was refreshingly candid in a recent interview when compared to what we’ve been hearing from many of his peers. Here's why I think it's worth a listen.

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The Racial Divide: Who Can be a Stay-at-Home Mom?

by Julie Graber | on 29 Jul 2020

One of the recent news item on the childcare crisis drew me into a conversation about societal attitudes towards women and how our who-will-stay-home and who-will-work expectations have varied throughout history based on race. Our expectation that black women will be employed is reflected throughout history in a number of ways.

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Moms Fired For Being, Well, Moms

by Julie Graber | on 22 Jul 2020

Our assumptions about moms undoubtedly keep too many women from advancing through the pipeline to the top, where frankly, we need them. It's time to stop penalizing women for the care they give and start creating organizations where moms are welcome.

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Diversity at Delta: A Pledge to Do More “Over the Next Couple of Years”

by Julie Graber | on 17 Jul 2020

Delta CEO Ed Bastion's commitment to increase board diversity "over the next couple of years" is hardly the bold action one would expect from someone who is "ashamed" for not paying more attention to diversity, and who has pledged to pay "extraordinary attention" to the issue in the future.

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Diversity at McCormick and Burger King

by Julie Graber | on 16 Jul 2020

McCormick & Company and Restaurant Brands International recently commented on their organizations' commitment to diversity and inclusion. Here's what they said and how their leadership numbers stack up.

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Saying "No" to Yet Another White Guy

by Julie Graber | on 14 Jul 2020

Let's face it - white men are the ones who are going to have to decide to say "no" to yet another white guy. Whether for themselves or someone else, white men, who make up nearly 50% and more of the decision-makers at the manager level and up, are the ones who must drive change in the composition of the leadership pipeline.

White men are asking how to be allies for women and people of color in the workplace. How about stepping up by taking a step back? How about making sure someone who doesn't look like you has the opportunity to step forward.

How about saying "no" to yet another white guy?

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Dismantling White Male Bias at Work

by Julie Graber | on 7 Jul 2020

Current ways of thinking about the inequities experienced by women and people of color at work continue to perpetuate the idea that (white) men are the norm and women/people of color are the “other.” Maybe it’s time to reframe the problem and dismantle white male privilege in our workplaces.

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What All the New Diversity Programs and Initiatives Tell You About How We’re Defining the Problem

by Julie Graber | on 30 Jun 2020

As companies scramble to find ways to address racism through their organizations, their “solutions” tell  you something about how the organization is defining the problem (and presumably what they think it will take to move the needle). So far, I’m not seeing anything that defines the problems we face any differently than they have been in the past - not a good sign if we’re hoping for real change.

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Mandatory Diversity Targets and Concerns About Unqualified Candidates

by Julie Graber | on 23 Jun 2020

Questions about the qualifications of women and people of color come from a place of privilege, where qualifications are assumed. That they only come up when we talk about women and people of color means they are also sexist and racist.

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Fix the System, Not the Women

by Julie Graber | on 16 Jun 2020

If women could fix the gender pay gap all by themselves it would be done. We don’t have time to mess around. We can’t afford what it costs us in lost wages to say nothing of bonuses and retirement contributions that are based on a percentage of our base pay. Suggesting that we can do it all by ourselves by changing who we are is yet another attempt to “fix the women” instead of fixing the system.

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Diversity Doublespeak and Discrimination

by Julie Graber | on 12 Jun 2020

If the Business Roundtable and other organizations are serious about tackling the issue of racial inequality in the US, they’re going to have to address the other D word that no one wants to mention: discrimination.

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Why Yet Another Committee Isn't the Answer to Addressing Racial Inequality

by Julie Graber | on 8 Jun 2020

If the Business Roundtable wants to be a part of the solution for racial inequality, they are going to have to focus their efforts inward, at themselves, and address the biases and privilege that got most of them where they are today. 

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Where You Won't Find African-Americans in the Fortune 100

by Julie Graber | on 3 Jun 2020

As I watch company after company issue statements on the protests sweeping the US I want to ask them one question: if you are so deeply committed to addressing the issue of racism, if you strive to create a culture where people of all differences can thrive, then why aren’t there more African Americans among your executive leadership?

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Data Table: Women and African Americans in the F100

by Julie Graber | on 2 Jun 2020

Fortune 100 C-Suite Organizational Charts - February 2020

Stanford Graduate School of Business: Corporate Governance Research Initiative

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C-Suite Diversity in the Fortune 100

by Julie Graber | on 1 Jun 2020

Women and racially diverse executives are underrepresented in C-suite positions that lead to CEO and board appointments and overrepresented in staff/administrative roles. That's not a good sign if you're looking for a company truly committed to diversity and inclusion. 

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Is the Company Serious About Diversity? Check the Executive Officers

by Julie Graber | on 27 May 2020

There is one indicator above all others that will tell you if the company is committed to diversity and inclusion at the gut level: the diversity of the executive officers.

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Moms Forced to Opt Out

by Julie Graber | on 26 May 2020

Her story went viral. The reaction has been intense. Yet I suspect there are a fair number of women breathing a quiet sigh of relief that the story isn’t about them. Women who can imagine a similar scenario playing out in their own home. Women who have already been pushed to the breaking point with the lockdown, women who don’t know what they are going to do long-term to manage the crisis it has created in their own families. Women who can imagine having to make the same decision under a similar set of circumstances. 

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In the News: Week Ending May 22

by Julie Graber | on 22 May 2020

ASX 300 boards: male and pale

Rooney Rule Changes in the NFL

Fortune 500 Female CEOs

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A Lifetime of Inequality Can Start With the Very First Paycheck

by Julie Graber | on 20 May 2020

Every paycheck you receive during your career, with a few exceptions, will build on that first paycheck. Every salary increase. Every bonus. Even matching retirement contributions. Since most employers use percentages to calculate all of the above, that first paycheck can be the start of something big. Except for women, it’s usually the start of something less. 

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Who's Going to Take Care of the Children?

by Julie Graber | on 12 May 2020

This is why having more moms in leadership roles is critical, because clearly no one around the decision-making tables has noticed that the plans for the next six to eighteen months are missing some resources - the ones that take care of the children while mothers and fathers are at work. 

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Men Take Risks, Women Take Responsibility

by Julie Graber | on 30 Apr 2020

Faced with a global pandemic, it hasn't escaped anyone's attention that it has been the women world leaders who have been most effective in handling this crisis while many of their male counterparts have stumbled. What explains the difference? One factor could be who takes the risks, and who takes responsibility.

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Women, Wicked Problems, & Pandemics

by Julie Graber | on 16 Apr 2020

There’s an irony in here somewhere: women’s typical career path through positions of support (not production) is the very thing that provides them skills and capabilities needed to lead in a time of crisis - in a time when the problems we face can only be described as “wicked.” 

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When Women Seek Power

by Julie Graber | on 18 Mar 2020

Explaining the trajectory of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential run will undoubtedly be a hot topic in the post-mortems of this election cycle. A recent Guardian’s article on Warren's departure from the race suggested that Warren faced a common challenge for any woman seeking an executive role, whether it’s in business or politics. It's the problem we have with ceding to woman the power that comes from the position they're in - it's our problem with female authority.

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The Upside of Ticking a Box

by Julie Graber | on 17 Mar 2020

Another day, another article finding fault with efforts to encourage greater diversity on boards and in the workplace. This recent one, The problem with diversity targets in the workplace trots out the same old excuse - that targets, quotas, or requirements reduce diversity initiatives to ticking the box to fulfill the requirement. And we all know what that means: unqualified diversity hires. (Cue the scary music.)

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What About All Those Unqualified Men?

by Julie Graber | on 9 Mar 2020

Why aren’t the people who are so worried about unqualified women being selected for boards equally concerned about all the unqualified men who are already there?

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Just Because I'm A Woman

by Julie Graber | on 24 Feb 2020

Just because I’m a woman. After running across two examples of women bemoaning the idea that their gender might have opened a door for them, I had to say it - it's OK to be the token. It's what you do with the opportunity that matters.

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Moms Need Not Apply

by Julie Graber | on 5 Dec 2019

The Miss World organization says that only single, childless women can handle the rigors of Miss World’s hectic schedule. The world cannot survive if the only people who can be leaders are men and women who aren’t moms. And if we’re going to realize my dream of a world where half of our leaders are women, we’re going to need to make room for moms at the table.

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Kay Hagan and Senate Pool

by Julie Graber | on 29 Oct 2019

Among her many accomplishments, Sen. Kay Hagan scored one small splash for women in the Senate pool.

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On the Likability of Political Candidates

by Julie Graber | on 12 Aug 2019

I was reminded of Judith Butler’s work on gender as a social construction while reading Rebecca Solnit’s Unconscious Bias is Running for President and Ella Nilsen’s “Likability” ratings in a recent New Hampshire poll show just how tough female candidates have it in the space of an afternoon.

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The Untested Rape Kits - What Happened Next

by Julie Graber | on 8 Aug 2019

Remember the backlog of untested rape kits reported in the news a number of years ago? This article provides an in-depth look at what has happened in the wake of this scandal.

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Calling Out the Mike Pence Rule

by Julie Graber | on 5 Aug 2019

Promoted by Mike Pence, the rule to not be alone with a person of the opposite sex has become the latest battle cry for conservative political candidates. As more candidates jump on the bandwagon, where will it leave women who just want to do their job? And let’s be frank - women are the ones paying the price.

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JPMorgan Chase's Hypothetical

by Julie Graber | on 6 Jun 2019

JPMorgan Chase’s 2019 proxy statement included an interesting hypothetical in its response to a shareholder resolution that would have required the company to provide a report on its global median gender pay gap.

As you can probably guess, the JPMorgan Chase board recommended that shareholders vote against this proposal. The company, like so many others, states that “[g]lobally, women at the Firm are paid 99% of what men are paid, taking into account factors that potentially impact pay” (an intriguing claim given that the “Firm” reported a 26% gender pay gap for its operations in the UK where such reporting is required by law).

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