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Group effort: How a women’s resource group can speed up gender parity

Valerie Bolden-Barrett* says setting up a women’s employee resource group is a great way for organisations to move towards gender parity.


Photo: Steve Cliff

Employers will need to increase their investments in diversity to speed up gender parity, a report from Fairygodboss concluded.

And a women’s employee resource group is an important first step, the organisation said.

For such a group to succeed, however, employers must engage senior leaders, communicate goals and metrics, and embrace intersectionality, the group said, quoting Jimmy Etheredge, Accenture’s group chief executive of North America.

Fairygodboss recommended that all talent pros be “in charge of diversity – even if it’s not your job”.

This mentality – that ownership of diversity is up to everyone – is ultimately the change in mindset that will accelerate the path to gender equity at work, the report said.

Employee resource groups can be an important part of any diversity and inclusion effort.

Such groups can facilitate well-executed mentorship and sponsorship.

And because research shows that sponsorships can help close gender wage gaps, it’s easy to see how resource groups can quickly advance gender parity.

Employers concerned about alienating other employees with these groups aren’t alone.

But experts say inclusion isn’t a zero-sum game.

In fact, all employees should be considered when designing a diversity and inclusion plan.

“If we don’t address everyone, we’re leaving them out of the workforce either explicitly as they turn over, or implicitly by not allowing them to fully contribute,” ​Lauren Romansky, Gartner’s Managing Vice President in the HR practice, recently told HR Dive.

Moreover, the creation of a diverse workforce is no longer a purely ethical mission; a growing number of studies show that diversity has elevated organisations’ financial performance.

Recently, analysts at The Wall Street Journal found that the 20 most diverse S&P 500 companies generally performed better financially over five and 10-year periods than non-diverse firms.

David Taylor, P&G’s CEO, President and Chairman, told the Journal: “A diverse team supported by an inclusive environment that values each individual will outperform a homogenous team every time.”


Valerie Bolden-Barrett is a business writer and content specialist.

This article first appeared at www.hrdive.com/news