Siri Chilazi is a Research Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School. She works to advance gender equality in the workplace through research and research translation. She collaborates with organizations to close gender gaps, and has presented at conferences worldwide. Her work has appeared in Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, BBC, Fast Company, and Forbes. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a BA in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard College.
The most difficult problem I'm trying to solve is how to motivate people at the top of organizations to care about gender equality and DEI when they don't. Transcript: "This is a fantastic question. And I would say one of the most difficult problems that I'm trying to solve is how to motivate people at the top of organizations to care about gender equality and about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to do the things that they need to do to advance it when they don't. Oftentimes what we see in organizations is there's a lot of excellent work happening at the bottom levels and even at the middle levels, but there can be a couple of critically placed individuals at or towards the top who don't get it, who don't buy in, and their reticence stymies the efforts of the whole rest of the organization and causes other really committed people to leave. I'm actually working on this problem with my co-author, [INAUDIBLE] Burnett, to articulate our answer to this question in a forthcoming book. So stay tuned."
Job descriptions often rely on check-the-box qualifications such as educational degrees and years of experience, which can limit the potential talent pool. To diversify our talent pools and ensure we are attracting truly qualified applicants, job descriptions should focus on skills and competencies that demonstrate an individual’s ability to do the job, such as particular coding languages. Transcript: "Job descriptions are a place where research shows unconscious bias. Unfortunately, often Creeps in think about a job description that asks for a master's degree or PhD in computer science and 10 years of software engineering experience. Well, that really limits the pool of who's qualified to apply for that role. Whereas out in the world. There might be thousands of people who actually could do the job. Because they have so much experience with software engineering. They just don't have that PhD or they haven't been at it for ten years professionally, because maybe they're only 24, but they started when they were three years old. So, increasingly if we want to diversify our talent pools, if we want to attract more different types of people who are fully qualified and who would do an amazing job to apply for our job description. It would be really beneficial to move away from those, check the box. Qualifications like how many years of experience do you have in a particular role or what educational degree? Do you have? And instead, focus on the skills and the competencies that will make someone successful in the job, for example, software engineering skills and then some specifics of what that looks like. Maybe particular coding languages that they need to be fluent in. So there's a lot of room to improve our job descriptions. There's also many other facets of job descriptions that we could talk about including being gendered language, but that will be the topic for another question."
No, she did not pee pee stands for gender proportionality principle today. The gender proportionality principle is a way to ensure that each level in the organizational hierarchy mirrors the gender diversity of the level below. This can be achieved by promoting men and women evenly at each level so that the higher levels eventually reflect the same level of gender diversity as the entry level. Transcript: "Did she pee pee stands for gender proportionality principle today? Many organizations have maybe more women at the lower levels. But as you go up each step in the hierarchy toward the top of the organization, the proportion of women gradually lowers. In fact studies looking at multiple organizations like the Mackenzie lean in women in the workplace report that gets published every year show that we are pretty much at parity approximately 48. Percent women across multiple organizations and sectors at the entry levels, but that proportion drops just a little bit at every level. As you go from managers to directors to vice presidents to senior vice presidents, to the point where women make up only about a quarter of the c-suite. So this is where the gender proportionality principle comes in. We suggest that companies should set the goal that each level in the hierarchy. Ultimately mirror. Gender diversity of the level below. So let's say today, your entry level is 50, 50 women and men, concurrently the next level up. Let's call it managers. He's 60 percent men and 40% women. Well, where do those manager-level people come from? Some of them might be external, hires? Yes, but a lot of them over time are going to be internal promotions up from the entry level. And this is, of course, something that companies can control Soper. Were the GP /, the gender proportionality principle. We suggest that this type of organization should set a goal to have the manager level reach. The same 50/50 gender representation that the entry-level already has and likewise for the next level. The advantage of this approach is that it's highly realistic because all were asking, is that a particular higher level in the organization mirrors, the pool from which it's already drawing, anyway, right, if You're at that manager level and at the entry level, you've got 50 50 women and men will. If you promote women and men evenly, meaning through promote 50/50 women and men, then over time that manager level will advance to that level of diversity. So, if we apply the gpp consistently throughout the organization, at every level we will sooner, or later be able to pull through the greater level of diversity, that currently exists at the bottom, all the way up to to the top of the organizational hierarchy."
Start by collecting data on who is asking questions and who is having their questions answered. If there are any gaps between different user groups, then look into diversifying the expert pool or changing the algorithm to prioritize certain types of questions. Additionally, survey users to monitor their usage patterns and see which user groups are more engaged than others. Ultimately, it is important to create a level playing field where everyone can feel heard. Transcript: "I love this question and my answer would start the same way as it does to any other organization on any other topic related to diversity, equity and inclusion, which is follow the data, the data don't lie. We might want to look at things like peoples demographics around. Who is asking questions? Who is getting their questions? Answered are some people's questions, more likely to be answered or more. We to be answered. Quickly, do experts tend to answer questions from people who are very similar to them. Right? So the data will expose to us whether there are gaps or differences in, for example, what types of users questions are most likely to be answered? And then if we find some Equity gaps, that's when we might want to start trying different interventions. If, for example, we find for the sake of argument that younger people's questions are more likely to be answered than older people's questions. That might be because there's more young experts on the platform and they take to tend to gravitate toward questions that are coming from people similar to them. So perhaps we need to diversify our expert pool or perhaps, we need to change something about the algorithm that Waits old people's questions, more heavily. Those are just a few examples of things that we might try once, and if we've identified Equity Gap. But the first step always has to be to follow and interrogate the data. The other thing, of course that we could do to ensure that people feel equally heard used to ask them survey. Our users monitor. Their usage patterns are certain groups of users staying on the app longer logging onto the app more often submitting, more questions, right? Those would all be behavioral indicators of someone being more. Engaged versus less. And once again, if we find systematic patterns where certain user groups are more engaged than others. We might dig in deeper and try to understand why that's happening and then test and pilot some interventions that might help to close the gaps. I really love that. You're asking this question and thinking about how diversity equity and inclusion applies on this platform because the reality is that no matter what your work, or no matter what? Your activities. There's always a component of equity involved and it's incumbent on all of us to make sure that we're creating a really equal Level Playing Field where everyone can feel heard."
Behavioral design is an approach to create systems, structures and environments that enable us to make better decisions which are fair and equitable. It takes into account research from fields such as behavioral science, neuroscience and psychology to help understand the workings of human brains. Transcript: "Thank you for this question. Behavioral design is one of my favorite topics. Behavioral design is an approach to create systems, structures environments, decision-making, contexts that enable are inherently biased, human brains to make better decisions. So behavioral design Builds on the Decades of research that we have from Fields like Behavioral Science Neuroscience social psychology psychology and The others those fields have taught us a lot about how human brains actually work. Not according to theoretical models, but in practice where human brains are good and successful at processing information and where they predictably fail. So we take all of that insight. And we say, okay, how can we create physical environments or organizational? Processes that enable us to nonetheless. Make better decisions in essence. Help us to overcome. I'm the negative effects of some of our unconscious biases so that we can make decisions in as fair and objective and Equitable of a fashion as we would hope and that in a nutshell, is the aerial design."
The gender proportionality principle is the idea that organizations should set goals for each level to match the gender diversity of the level below it. This will allow companies to promote and advance both men and women equally, resulting in greater gender diversity at all levels. Transcript: "Thank you so much for the question, Sam. The gender proportionality principle is the idea that in organizations were higher levels. More senior levels tend to have fewer women than lower levels. Organizations should set a goal for each level to match, the gender diversity of the level below it. So let's say at the manager level 60 percent of the people are men and forty percent of the people are women. And at the next level up, let's call it director. Seventy percent of the employees are men and only thirty percent are women. Well since managers are the people who get promoted up to directors, in other words, the pool for the director level is the manager level. Of course, there might be some external or lateral hires as well. Then it would be quite reasonable for this organization to say that in some amount of time. Maybe two years, maybe three or five, the director level should look like the manager level below. It. It if women and men are being equally promoted and equally Advanced for managers to directors. So in order to adhere with the gender proportionality principle company should simply aim to make each level match, the gender diversity of the level below which Amor, most organizations today has an is greater gender diversity. So, over time, these kind of goal, and this principle will allow companies to pull through the Greater level of gender, diversity, that currently exists at the bottom, all the way up to the top of the hierarchy. And thereby reach a more gender equal table, proportion, at all levels of the organization."