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Newsletter Week 15

May 7, 2019

This week: 

  • Term limits are a powerful tool for increasing representation, but there are practical and legal limitations. What if we think about term limits as an extreme form of job rotation?

  • In a new Pew survey, people across 27 nations generally support gender equality. Their views on other types of diversity are more mixed. Plus, a surprising desire for more religion in national life.

  • French women are once again saying a resounding “non” to sexual harassment.

  • The Australian Labor party is making childcare a core part of their election platform, in an attempt to bring more women back into full-time work.

Today in D&I In Practice

Term Limits Can Open Up Opportunities for Under-Represented Groups. Would They Work for You? (D&I Original/Subscribers Only)

We often talk about the power of changing the process. It’s hard to change people’s minds, or unconscious patterns of behavior. But altering the rules? That’s an often-overlooked lever for creating change.

The National Institute of Health has just changed the rules by imposing 12-year term limits on its lab and branch chiefs. The NIH explicitly expects this will create more leadership opportunities for women and people of color. Corporate boards have been discussing term limits as a tool for bringing in more diversity for years, although most U.S. boards have opted to increase board size rather than limit tenure.

Opportunities for term limits are scarcer in regular company roles. But if we think about term limits as job rotation, the possibilities expand. Click through for some thinking about how companies can use job rotation to build employees’ skills, increase corporate resiliency, and create more opportunities for employees from diverse backgrounds.

More in News and Research

1. A Changing World: Global Views on Diversity, Gender Equality, Family Life and the Importance of Religion (Pew Research Center)

Across 27 countries, most agree that their country has become more diverse, and there is more gender equality. While most people agreed that gender equality is good, the view of racial, ethnic and religious diversity was much more mixed, and varied significantly by country. For example, in India, 77% of people surveyed favor gender equality, while only 36% support diversity more broadly (see the survey for exact methodology.)

One of the most surprising findings for me: in most areas of the world outside of Europe—including the U.S.—people favored a bigger role for religion in the life of their country. Living in the San Francisco Bay area as I do, religion is not a big part of public life. It’s easy to forget that other countries, and even other parts of the U.S., have a very different perspective.

It’s impossible to do this fascinating, complex report justice in a summary. Check it out for yourself here

2. Despite New Sexual Harassment Law, French Women Say #MeToo Has Fallen Short (NPR)

France’s progress on sexual harassment has been mixed. While the country has one of the most aggressive laws against street harassment in the world, a controversial orchestra conductor is re-igniting discussions in France about who is believed when it comes to sexual harassment allegations. 

3. Why Labor’s Childcare Policy is the Biggest Economic News of the Election Campaign (The Conversation Australia)

Why do Australian women often not return to full-time work after having children? First, childcare is hard to find and expensive. Second, effective marginal tax rates are prohibitive. Low-income women can lose up to 85-95% of their extra earnings as they increase their work hours towards full time. These problems are especially acute in Australia, but affect women in many high-income nations to some degree.

The Australian Labor party’s proposal for increasing child care subsidies is a key part of their current electoral platform. It will be fascinating to see what voters say.

We’re Also Reading...

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

For Lower-Paid Workers, the Robot Overlords Have Arrived (The Wall Street Journal)

Men Have No Friends and Women Bear the Burden (Harper’s Bazaar)

How LGBTQ People are Resisting Bolsonaros’ Brazil Through Art (The Conversation)

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