I recently had the opportunity to be a presenter at a wonderful women’s leadership program co-hosted by the Offices of Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Pennsylvania State Representative Donna Bullock. The program was part of Councilwoman Brown’s Women’s Leadership and Development Initiative.
While you may not think of outsourcing as typically applied to gender diversity initiatives, it does not take long to see that all of the benefits of outsourcing are equally applicable to outsourcing a gender diversity initiative.
Bloomberg Businessweek featured an article this week entitled “Girl Talk – The Female Solidarity, Have-It-All, Feel-Good Machine” by Sheelah Kolhatkar. The article discusses the preponderance of women’s empowerment conferences, headlined by such impressive women as Michelle Obama, Xerox CEO Ursula Brown and Jessica Alba. These conferences draw thousands of women, garner thousands of dollars a ticket and are sponsored by well-known and well-established companies like Deloitte, Citigroup and Zurich Insurance. The interesting piece of the article, however, asked the question: notwithstanding the multitude of these conferences, were they doing anything to effectuate change?
People make comments such as, “A women’s initiative? Why don’t we have a men’s initiative?” Or, “We treat everyone equally here, everyone is the same. We are gender blind.” The message that these comments convey is that a separate women’s initiative is not necessary. If the corporate world was truly equal and both genders had the same ability to succeed and climb, I too may subscribe to that line of thinking. But the reality is that we simply do not live in that kind of perfect world.