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McKinsey and Leanin.org release results of new women in the workplace study

The Wall Street Journal has published key findings of a new study completed by McKinsey and LeanIn.org measuring the progress of women’s leadership in corporate America. One conclusion is that there is a connection between sexual harassment and gender inequality in the business world today.

Women in the Workplace 2018” is the largest comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America. Since 2015, LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company have published four reports – one each year. This year, 279 companies employing more than 13 million people shared their pipeline data and completed a survey of their HR practices. In addition, more than 64,000 employees were surveyed on their workplace experiences.

The WSJ article, titled “What #MeToo Has to Do With the Workplace Gender Gap,” points out that “Harassment and the gender gap are inextricably linked. In fact, management experts and executives say, harassment can be a direct side effect of a workplace that slights women on everything from pay to promotions, especially when the perception is that men run the show and women can’t speak up.”

Another finding of the study is that “While women and men enter the workforce in roughly equal numbers, women fall behind in promotions from the very first step onto the management ladder, the Lean In and McKinsey data show. By the senior-manager level, men outnumber women two to one, and in the C-suite, just 22% are women.”

The report focuses on what companies should be and can be doing to remove barriers that impede progress. While AWESOME leaders agree that companies have an important responsibility, the recently published “AWESOME Action Agenda: 16 Ways to Make Waves and Advance Women’s Leadership” provides suggestions for what individuals within their organizations can do.

Both reports suggest that men and women should be having candid conversations about the biases and inequities that exist. The WSJ article gives an example of what’s being done at Zenefits and other companies, where “such sessions have turned into forums where men and women talk through anxieties about interacting in a post-#MeToo world.” “Some of the renegotiation of social boundaries is messy, and we have to be OK with this,” says Jennifer Allyn, diversity-strategy leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which has held about a dozen of what it calls “respect in the workplace” discussions at PwC offices around the country since February.

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