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Newsletter Week 8

March 19. 2019

This week: 

  • The whys and hows of reverse mentoring, from CEOs, mentors and experts.

  • How ManPower is taking a stand against ageism in hiring.

  • U.S. men report they are less concerned about workplace sexual harassment than in 2017. Women feel a little differently.

  • Half of women in economics believe they have been treated unfairly because of their gender, according to a survey of over 9,000 economists. And the American Economics Association is taking concrete action.

  • Using humor at work can backfire for women, by inadvertently triggering the false idea that women are less committed to their careers.


Today in D&I In Practice

Reverse Mentoring Builds Skills and Connections (D&I Original/Subscribers Only)

Today’s workforce routinely spans five generations. Reverse mentoring, where a more junior employee mentors a more senior one, can help people of different ages better understand each other. We talk to CEOs, their more junior mentors, and experts to learn why they find reverse mentoring so valuable, and get expert insights on how to make a reverse mentoring program successful.


Combating Ageism in Hiring Practices (D&I Original/Subscribers Only)

A recent EEOC report asserts that six out of ten older employees have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. As Chief Talent Officer of Manpower Group, Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic develops assessment tools that focus on skills and leave age out of the equation. As a staffing agency, however, Manpower sees instances where the client’s preferences can create a bias against older workers, often in unexpected ways.

For example, Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic points out, “...the talent market itself can be unfriendly to older workers: ...clients will deliberately reject somebody for being too old or too young. Even if you look at things that are desirable, like calling someone a high-potential employee, if you're over 25 or over 30, you cannot be included in high-potential programs [because you’d be considered too old] even though...there will be many people in their 40s or 50s who could be in that bracket and who could be re-skilled or re-trained.”


More in News and Research

1.  U.S. Men Are Less Concerned about Sexual Harassment in 2018, but Why? (Gallup)

Gallup’s recent survey of US men shows that 53 percent agree that sexual harassment at work is a major problem, down from 62 percent in 2017. Women’s level of concern about sexual harassment did not change. In fact, in 2018, women were more likely to self-identify as having experienced in sexual harassment.

The report didn’t ask about why the change in sentiment, but we can speculate: #MeToo (and #MeToo fatigue), the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, and a rush by employers to put anti-harassment programs in place probably all play a part. 


2. Economics is a (White, Straight) Man’s World (New York Times)

Like venture capital in 2017, the profession of economics is being forced to take a long, uncomfortable look at itself. According to a survey of 9,000 current and former members by the American Economic Association, the industry’s professional organization:

“Half of the women who responded to the survey said they had been treated unfairly because of their sex, compared with 3 percent of men. Nearly half of women said they had avoided speaking at a conference or a seminar to guard against possible harassment or “disrespectful treatment.” 

Among black economists surveyed, only 14 percent agreed with the statement that “people of my race/ethnicity are respected within the field.”

“[Among non-hetero-sexual members] 25 percent agreed that “people of my sexual orientation are respected within the field.” Twenty percent said they had been discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation.”

The AEA is considering a wide list of actions, including expelling members who are found to violate the organization’s new code of ethics. 


3. Funny...Not Funny (Harvard Business Review)

Using humor on the job can play into underlying stereotypes about an employee’s commitment to work. For men, humor reinforces the underlying belief that they are career-focused, and are using humor as a “functional” tool, to lighten the mood and build a sense of community. Women who use humor, however, are often perceived as “disruptive” and therefore less committed. While this effect might be limited to first impressions, it goes to show that standard presentation advice, like “use humor to disarm your audience,” might not work for women.


We’re Also Reading...

These articles aren’t directly connected to the workplace, but have interesting insights about diversity and inclusion in society at large. 

The Most Reprehensible Part of the Admissions Scandal: Faking Disability Accommodations (Vox)

Botswana Joining List of African Countries Reviewing Gay Rights (The Conversation)

DNA Shows an Ethnically Diverse Crew Sailed Henry VIII’s Flagship (Smithsonian)


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WT2 Women Transforming Technology conference (April 23, live event in Palo Alto, $175)

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