Gender inequality and the widening pay gap are not due to a lack of awareness; hundreds of global leaders have redundantly vocalized the worldwide disparity of women leaders. The problem lies in inaction and uncertainty of where to begin. Shelley Zalis, Founder and CEO of The Female Quotient, and Claudia Romo Edelman, Founder of We Are All Human, have committed their life’s work to closing the gap and helping all women leaders rightfully climb to the top of the workplace. They believe when you empower women, you empower the world.
Here is what they had to say on Visionaries and how it could influence your team, talent, and future.
- Awareness is Power: #WeAreAllHuman, #SeeHer
- Proof is in Data
- The Great Regression
- Gender Equality: 5th Sustainable Development Goal
- Identifying Gaps, Creating Solutions
- Seven Ways Businesses Can Support Gender Equality
Awareness is Power: #WeAreAllHuman, #SeeHer
Claudia Romo Edelman: Eight years ago, I moved to America and “learned” I was Hispanic. I realized how critical it is to apply marketing and branding to help the public rethink who Latinos are and realize their potential. In response, I created We Are All Human and the Hispanic Star to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I), embrace our Latinidad (Latino culture), and shine a light on the progress Hispanics bring to the country.
Shelley Zalis: With my team at The Female Quotient (FQ) and in partnership with Gail Tifford and Patty Kerr, we brought the #SeeHer movement to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) to bring more visibility into how the media portrays women. Our motto, “If you can see her, you can be her,” is about the accurate and realistic portrayal of girls and women in marketing, advertising, media, and entertainment. Females need to see themselves as they are in all their potential. Unfortunately, too many ads still play upon old stereotypes, reinforcing bias, inequity, and uncertainty of equality of females for the whole world to witness. Inclusivity in advertising isn’t just a nice-to-have or “the right thing” to do; it’s fundamentally good for business. Expanding the range of who you represent in your content means more people will identify with it, building a bridge for the brand to have an even greater customer pool and sales pipeline.
The Proof is in Data
Shelley Zalis: We all know that to advance any business process, you need to measure progress. Hence, SeeHer created the Gender Equality Measure (GEM) [the first data-driven methodology for identifying gender bias in media] to create accountability around measuring and treasuring what matters based on how consumers perceive ads, not what marketers perceive. No matter how seasoned the marketer, filmmaker, or creative is behind the scenes, inherent bias is present. It is scientifically impossible to not have unconscious bias, as documented by Google many years ago, which is why it is so critical to have diverse representation to bring forward the most unbiased ad or content possible. Now, all national advertisers have implemented the GEM score into their advertising. Like we have persuasion, relevance, and recall measures, we now have the GEM score to create accountability for the realistic portrayal of girls and women.
- Ads with positive GEM scores drive purchase intent by 42% among total and female consumers.
- Higher GEM scores equal a 56% increase in brand reputation.
- Positive ROI tied to high GEM scores increase sales by 2-5x.
Claudia Romo Edelman: DE&I is here to stay. It’s in the data; people are not interested in working for a company where they are not respected and cannot be themselves. Not only this, but they will vote with their hearts and purchase with their beliefs. Hispanics are 18% of the U.S. population and have $1.7 trillion of purchasing power. There is no way any industry can sell, hire, or grow without the Latino community, and yet they are under-represented, misrepresented, undervalued, and invisible.
The Great Regression
Shelley Zalis: The World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Gap report reveals that it will take 132 years (!) to reach full gender parity at our current rate of progress. We saw the ramifications of this reality unfold even more with The Great Resignation during the pandemic. If you look at the pre-and post-pandemic facts, there is an apparent regression. Women are still underrepresented; there is a leaky pipeline from entry-level to the C-suite, diversity and pay gaps, and a “broken rung” that prevents millions of women from being promoted to managers. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted, according to McKinsey’s 2021 Women in the Workplace report.
Even today, caregiving is still a huge topic; we need to create a new dialogue and more structural support. Research shows that 73% of all employees have caregiving responsibilities at home, and most of these employees experience some bias in the workplace.
The reversal of Roe vs. Wade, which will forever alter corporate America, is a devastating blow to reproductive freedoms and adds to the list of what is already a harsh reality for women in this country. It’s time to stop talking about the problems and start activating solutions for change.
Claudia Romo Edelman: Women in the Latino community are “the gap within the gap” and “the minority within the minority.” Our studies show Hispanics have a negative perception issue, but it’s even worse for female Hispanics. People only associate us with our physical attributes: sexy, beautiful, loud, and dangerous. As a company, if you don’t have Unconscious Bias training, you’re likely going to place us in receptionist work or assume we are uneducated.
Latinas create small businesses six times faster than any other group, yet we are paid the least. We have gone from earning fifty-four cents on the dollar to fifty-three cents. We are going backwards.
Gender Equality: 5th Sustainable Development Goal
Claudia Romo Edelman: We are lucky to be witnesses to the most historical framework global leaders have built together, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). One hundred ninety-three countries have agreed on a master plan for the global community. All 17 goals and 169 indicators are interconnected and universal, but Gender Equality and DE&I are the center of every initiative. Without advancing the fifth goal, Gender Equality, it will be hard to reach other goals, such as Climate, Education, and Decent Work, because when you help advance and empower women, everything else will follow.
Shelley Zalis: Women are the heart of everything. Consider the workplace and the importance of female leadership: research shows that when more women are in senior positions, the organization becomes more profitable, has better customer experience, and more. Female leaders are the ones raising their hands to support their teams and employees; it’s the extra, often invisible emotional support work I want to make visible.
Identifying Gaps and Creating Solutions for Women
Claudia Romo Edelman: When I moved to America. I realized we had a reverse marketing problem. Digging into the issue, I saw systemic barriers for Latinos, such as education, health, gender, and jobs. While these issues need attention, the real obstacle keeping us from dismantling these barriers is that we are a fragmented, ununified, and invisible community. Latinos are not united by language, country of origin, political party, or first or second generation; we are unified by our desire to progress, move forward, and achieve the American Dream.
The Hispanic community needed a unifying symbol, a platform to raise awareness of the incredible contributions of Latinos, market solutions for companies who want to engage with Latino employees, suppliers, and consumers, and a framework that brings together Latino organizations to amplify and accelerate their goals.
Through the Hispanic Star, we created an ecosystem and developed instruments for the Latino Community to be unified and have a shared agenda. More than 300 companies are a part of Hispanic Star, 100 Latino organizations are represented, 50 million Latinos are a part of the community, and we have chapters in 30 cities across the country.
Shelley Zalis: It’s time to change the old mindsets and create workplaces that work for women because when you build a workplace that works for women, you create a workplace that works for everyone. I believe we can move towards The Great Reimagination, where all people can be satisfied, fulfilled, and recognized in their workplace.
Seven Ways Businesses Can Support Women Leaders
By Claudia Romo Edelman and Shelley Zalis
🚨 Mark Your Calendar
Latina Equal Pay Day – December 8th, 2022
By 2060, the Hispanic population will be 117 million, and one-third of women will be Hispanic. Unless we invest in this group, you will have a third of your population disadvantaged and a workforce that is not ready for the challenges of the future. We must address this crisis by investing in Hispanic education and pay.
1) Audit and Stock Taking
Use transparency and disaggregate internal data into racial/ethnic and gender categories.
Facilitate Unconscious Bias training, DE&I training, and leadership development. It’s time for corporate culture to include all the diversity they embody.
3) Showcase Latinas (and other minority groups) Excelling
Showcase Latinas in various leadership positions to dismantle stereotypes and increase visibility. Companies and brands must invest in the Hispanic community and use their marketing dollars to represent Latinas properly.
4) System Setting
Utilize mentorship/sponsorships with affinity groups like Employee Resource Groups (ERG) or Business Resource Groups (BRG).
5) Create New Rules
Gender equality is not about rewriting workplace rules but about creating new ones.
6) Build a Workplace Culture That Makes Women Rejoice
Female Quotient is launching a new concept called, The Flipping Point. There is a tipping point where you wait and watch, but the flipping point goes from awareness to action. It will move us beyond the Great Resignation and Great Retention to a whole new concept, The Great Rejoice. The Flipping Point looks at how to retain people, especially women, by creating a workplace culture they actually want.
7) Give Her the Well-Deserved Promotion
One of our most significant challenges is getting women to rise in leadership and onto boards; we need them in these roles for better representation and reflection. The women’s agenda must be the world’s agenda; having a seat at the table and having a voice matters.
Shelley Zalis: No one can make something happen alone, but together, we can lead even in the face of detrimental setbacks. If all of us collectively understand the importance of our power, we can move a mountain. A leader alone has power, but we have an impact.
Visionaries, hosted by Nadine Dietz, airs every Tuesday at 9AM PT and is brought to you in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Each week, two new visionaries share their game plan and how that impacts today’s teams, talent, and hybrid work environment.
About the Visionaries
Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient: Shelley Zalis has devoted her career to support and bring visibility to women. She pioneered online research and was the only female Chief Executive in the industry’s top 25. As founder and CEO of FQ, she unites leaders across industries to advance equality. She is proud to help close the gaps holding women back across parity, pathway, pipeline, and policy. Zalis is an admired speaker and member of the Washington Speakers Bureau, a skilled moderator, and author of a Forbes column mentoring women to advance in their careers. She is co-founder of #SeeHer and sits on the board of directors for MAKERS and ColorComm.
Claudia Romo Edelman, Founder, We Are All Human: Claudia Romo Edelman is a social entrepreneur, advocate, and a catalyst for change, using her skills in marketing and branding to change the world. Claudia is a DE&I leader focused on unifying the U.S. Hispanic community and promoting sustainability and purpose-driven activities. She founded the We Are All Human Foundation, Global GoalsCast, a podcast highlighting global progress through the stories of champions making a difference, and Hispanic Star, helping Hispanics progress in America. She authored “Hispanic Stars Rising” and “Mission Matters.” For 25 years, Claudia worked with the United Nations and World Economic Forum. She helped support UNICEF, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
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