white male boards and white male commenters

Just read this article on the breakdown of the boards of directors in tech. The article is great, but some of the comments are really distressing.
Not having women on the board is an issue of innovation? Since when did women innovate? People need to get used to hearing non-PC but completely accurate assessments. Companies don't perform based on 'wishful thinking'.
Wow.  Since when do women innovate?  Uh...since men started innovating?  Perhaps they don't have as long of a history in industry, but that doesn't mean they don't innovate.  The problems are that 1) far fewer women have the training necessary and 2) being on a board requires being pushy enough to move up the chain, which most women aren't comfortable doing, either because it's not culturally acceptable or because they care more about their personal lives.  And we shouldn't get used to non-PC statements of this variety because these are all cultural issues that have solutions. Addressing them starts with identifying a problem. Well, problem identified.  (Hint: part of it's you, bucko.)

Another doozy:
Let's hire based on race and gender instead of qualifications because people who can't get hired on qualification are moaning! Great idea for those who are moaning but horrible idea for people actually running the business.
Nobody said we should hire more women that aren't qualified.  Nor are we saying the the problem needs to be fixed RIGHT NOW.  It's a matter of understanding the causes and then addressing the cultural factors that impact this imbalance.  Until we do address the underlying issue, it's important to take just a little time to consider candidates outside the usual mold, but still qualified.  They exist, but it's harder to find them, so it takes effort.

The reason why this is important?  Because you care about equal opportunity, not for those that are qualified, but for future generations.  People need role models, and if there are no women on your board, what does that say to your female employees?  What does that say about your company to women students?  It says: don't bother trying to climb the ranks because you won't get there.  We need to say please try, so that we have a better candidate pool.

We have the opportunity to craft our society for the future.  We can either say: well, that's the way its; suck it up.  Or we can say: that's not the way I'd like it to be; here's how we can change it.  Saying that this is just the way to world works is equivalent to stating that women and other minorities deserve these inequalities, not for cultural reasons, but because of their inherent lack of ability.  Or that you're okay with the inequalities (often because they benefit you).

Next steps to fix these issues: trying a little harder to find qualified minority higher-ups, creating or improving family friendly initiatives for both genders, and developing mentorship programs for students and lower ranked employees to increase retention.  We know these things already, it's just about taking the time to help them play out in order to reap the rewards.

P.S. I like white male people!  My husband is and most of my wonderful mentors are/have been white males. You are instrumental in making these changes happen, so thank you!  

1 comment:

Rachael said...

this is relevant.