This is the great paradox of inclusion – that inclusion must also involve exclusion at times. In order to be authentically inclusive and offer an immersive experience for the end-user, businesses must be able to temporarily exclude in order to offer a truly tailored approach with a clear impact. And they have to accept that it isn’t going to be a popular choice with everyone.
Not Women Only
But to be clear, women-centric is not the same as women only. Positive female-focused programs should integrate managers and leaders, providing wrap-around inclusion sessions that inform and engage relevant stakeholders. Culture shift requires active buy-in from men in senior positions. Professionals throughout your organization need to hear your senior leaders promoting programs for women and actively communicating the value of a strong female leadership pipeline.
Creating gender parity makes good business sense. Research clearly demonstrates that organizations with strong female leadership perform better and have stronger financial results. But women’s access to leadership remains a challenge. Organizations are not acting with the necessary urgency to effect change. By failing to act, they risk losing their competitive edge and potentially their relevance in the marketplace.
Rising While Female
Part of the ROI for tailored women’s programs is that you are actively recognizing a systemic problem – a shared set of experiences and challenges – and intentionally targeting those dynamics. Women-centric programs address unique interpersonal and organizational barriers. These programs empower women, helping them advance in their careers, while simultaneously getting leadership to take more active roles in addressing cultural barriers for women and other groups underrepresented at senior levels.
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