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The Challenge and Opportunity of Diversity in the Workplace


For 28% of younger Latina/Hispanic women, hidden biases are severe enough to ... 24% of Latina/Hispanic business women care for needy youth in the community (vs. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Challenge and Opportunity of Diversity in the Workplace

The Challenge and Opportunity of Diversity in the
Sylvia Ann Hewlett The Association of
Independent Schools of Greater
Washington October 30, 2008
Hidden Brain Drain Task Force
Global Talent Pool
Africa Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South
Africa Tunisia Asia China, India, Japan,
Korea ½ Russian Federation Europe Czech
Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, ½
Russian Federation, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine,
United Kingdom Latin America Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Mexico Venezuela North America
US Canada Other Australia New
Zealand Figures estimated based on UNESCO
Institute for Statistics, Enrollment in
Tertiary Education 2001/2002,, accessed April 4, 2006
Catalyst, Quick Takes African-Americans, Asian
Americans and Latinos/Latinas, updated 2/22/05,, accessed April 7, 2006 Higher
Education Statistics Agency, First Year UK
Domiciled HE Students By Qualification Aim, Mode
of Study, Gender and Ethnicity 2004/05,
5.htm, accessed April 6, 2006.
Leadership in Your Midst Tapping the Hidden
Strengths of Minority Executives
  • In-depth study designed to explore the full round
    of minority professionals lives
  • 1,601 professionals, including 1,001 minority
    women and 200 minority men
  • College or professional degree
  • Ages 28-55

Sponsored by General Electric, Time Warner,
Findings Cultural Capital of Minority Female
Executives is Rich and Valuable
  • 41 and 35 of highly-educated African Americans
    and Latino/Hispanics are involved in social
  • 25 of highly-educated African American women are
    active leaders in their religious community
  • 24 of Latino/Hispanic businesswomen are mentors/
    big sisters
  • 14 of all minority women hold leadership roles
    in professional organizations
  • 13 of all minority women serve as board members,
    spokespersons and fundraisers for not-for-profit

The Case for Diversity
  • Diversity of thought often delivers stronger,
    faster results than homogenous teams.
  • It took a team of not only mathematicians and
    linguists but also chess grand masters,
    classicists, and crossword addicts to break the
    German enigma code during World War II.
  • It was a team of marine biologists,
    mathematicians and salvage workersand not a
    group of submarine expertsthat located the USS
    Scorpion in 1968.

Findings Hidden Bias Legitimacy Big Concerns
  • 42 of minority professional women in large
    corporations feel constrained by the white male
    model and struggle with style compliance issues
    (speaking style, hand gestures,
  • 30 of minority women professionals believe
    promotions at their companies are based on
    appearance, not ability
  • 25 of minority business women feel they are
    perceived as Affirmative Action Hires and
    struggle with legitimacy

For 28 of younger Latina/Hispanic women, hidden
biases are severe enough to make them think about
Findings An Overload of Care
  • Minority women shoulder heavy responsibilities
  • 51 of African American women and 47 of
    Latina/Hispanic women have children under 18 in
    household (vs. 41 of white women)
  • 24 of Latina/Hispanic business women care for
    needy youth in the community (vs. 14 white
  • 18 of African-American women ages 28-40 are
    single parents (vs. 7 white women) or main
  • 17 and 11 of highly-educated African Americans
    and Latinos/ Hispanics care for elders/extended

Findings Distrust Invisibility are Big Issues
  • 52 of minority women professionals do not trust
    their employers and fear giving them ammo
  • Distrust leads to reluctance to share personal
  • 56 of minority women believe their outside lives
    are invisible

Larger firms (1,001 employees or more)
Implications of Findings for Organizations
  • Cultural Capital. Inability to recognize and
    leverage transferable skills of cultural capital
    is a big missed opportunity.
  • Hidden biases undermine diversity and inclusion
  • The high level of mistrust impedes sharing
    information makes it difficult to recognize or
    support employees

What Can Organizations Do?
  • Shine a Light Create greater awareness and
    appreciation of community work (American Express,
    Cisco, Time Warner)
  • Lessen the Load Widen the tent to support the
    extended family (Time Warner, Citigroup)
  • Re-imagine Inclusion Expose hidden bias in
    order to build trust and authentic communication
    (BP, PepsiCo)
  • Finish the Job of Leadership Development Apply
    what is learned off the job to leverage talent
    and accelerate careers (Goldman Sachs, Pitney
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