October 10, 2012

Women’s programs: A necessity in corporate America

My work with CBIZ Women’s Advantage has reinforced the value of women’s programs. Companies strive for different results -- better employee engagement, advancement of women, more diversity in the C-suite -- but so often many of these companies fail to change how they have always done business. How can different results be achieved with the same policies and strategies?

There is an even stronger need for women’s programs today. It is important for leaders, executives, business owners, managers, and -- even more so -- high-profile women executives to make a business case for gender diversity and continue the conversations around the existing biases in the workplace. Take, for example, the National Partnership’s recent findings that show the continued pay gap in America from U.S. Census Bureau data. According to this study, women are paid less than men in 423 out of 435 congressional districts.

For reasons such as the above, I believe that women’s networks are still the most important group that can highlight these differences. By promoting these programs, we are challenging old policies and strategies and enlisting new concepts with expectations of significant outcomes.

Business leaders need to take ownership for gender diversity and promote awareness of women’s issues. Women-centric programs help to do just that, taking steps to ensure this demographic doesn’t get stuck in middle management (the “pink ghetto”), but instead has the opportunity to make it to the C-suite and onto corporate boards.

My work with CBIZ Women’s Advantage has introduced me to people and challenges that women face from a very different perspective. Companies can not only gain a cultural advantage by supporting their women’s networks, but may also help their female associates clearly see that they made a great decision by becoming a career-focused person.

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