Five Friday Highlights: Diversity on Screen and Off

Diversity Issues

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. ~ Maya Angelou

I ran across two articles about how diversity is represented in our popular culture recently. Whether you are a parent or simply a trusted adult in a young person’s life, someone is taking their cues from you about how to treat others who are different from them in some way. I am sharing those two articles here, and a few others that I encourage you to think about this week.

First, did you see the hashtag #CBSSoWhite on Twitter last month? If you did, here’s the backstory from CNN MoneyCBS Slammed for Lack of Diversity. Six of the network’s eight new shows star white actors, reports the article, which follows up by writing, “having transgender actress of color and ‘Orange is the New Black’ star Laverne Cox as a costar in the new legal drama ‘Doubt,’ and African American actor Justin Cornwell paired with Bill Paxton in the crime drama ‘Training Day,’ was not enough to overcome complaints that CBS lacks women and minorities on its roster”

On the flip side, Vogue celebrated the diversity in the 2016 Tony Awards nominee class in Hollywood, Take Notice: There is No #TonysSoWhite. “If their signature awards shows are any indication,” contends the article, “Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Broadway.”

There was another high profile “first” recently, when Deshauna Barber, an Army Reservist, won the Miss USA title. In this video from Business Insider, she talks about the skills the military taught her. She includes time management, discipline, and “extreme toughness.”

Whether you’re an actor or a soldier, you have to learn from those around you. Role Models and Mentors from Sharp Heels shares ten tips for learning by example and engaging more effectively with people you look up to at work. They are right when they say, “be coachable.”

Finally, although it is aimed at children, How to Teach Your Kids about Diversity from CW6 San Diego featuring Devin Hughes shares advice we should ALL heed. He encourages parents and children to “create space” to appreciate differences. Good advice for every one of us.

Have you read something this week that made a difference for you? Tweet me at @melissa_lamson1 and let me know!

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Five Friday Highlights: The Power of Shared Experiences

Gender Equity

There’s something really powerful about … shared experiences. People might be skeptical about their ability to change if they’re by themselves, but a group will convince them to suspend disbelief. A community creates belief.- Charles Duhigg

Today’s highlight selections all tie back, in one way or another to shared experiences. From Sheryl Sandberg’s revelations after becoming a part of the single parent community, to women who still are subject to unwanted touching at their employers, it is shared experiences which catalyze action. It is my hope these actions create a richer, more equitable world for everyone.

Acting on shared experiences can result in a richer, more equitable world for everyone! {TWEET THIS}

Sheryl Sandberg released a Mother’s Day message on Facebook about how her interpretation of “Leaning In” has changed over the past year, after her husband passed away and she became a single mother. In addition to sharing the evolution of her personal viewpoint, she says, “We need to rethink our public and corporate workforce policies and broaden our understanding of what a family is and looks like.” I agree!

Sheryl Sandberg’s change of viewpoint was brought about by a change in her life circumstances. After her spouse’s death, her pool of “shared experience” had broadened. Shared experience, writes Georgene Huang, founder of Fairygodboss in Forbes, matters. Read more in Your Gender Matters at Work and That’s a Good Thing.

Some industries move more quickly toward gender parity than others, and Sydney Ember shares in The New York Times how advertising is not blazing a trail. In For Women in Advertising, It’s Still a “Mad Men” World, Ember writes “…in interviews with more than a dozen women, mostly executives, who work in advertising, many said they found it hard to believe how much their particular business still remained a white man’s world.”

Who is going to make a measured, mature contribution to the hard work of rethinking public and corporate workforce policies referred to by Sheryl Sandberg? I have to think the people willing and capable of doing that will exhibit the characteristics discussed in 7 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence is One of the Fastest-Growing Job Skills from Fast Company. Like the article states regarding the emotionally intelligent, “…with the rates of change and pressures in the workplace rising, they’ll become even more sought after than ever.”

I believe those emotionally intelligent people can make a difference in the changes that will help bring about more fairness and, in all honesty, more profits! In Why Inclusive Hiring Practices Help Bottom-Line Earnings for Savvy Companies from Sharp Heels, guest contributor Heather Ready provided examples such as, “…investments in companies with at least one female founder performed 63% better than … investments in all-male teams, according to a report released last year.”

Success in business is not, of course, all about monetary profit However, I don’t see why we can’t do both: be richly diverse and rich in the conventional sense. Who wants to help me try? Email me here with your ideas!

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Five Friday Highlights: Women Winning at Work

Working Women

Each post I chose to highlight this week somehow relates to how women can succeed. This week, the public discourse has been driven by a visual album about infidelity and a presidential candidate claiming that a female candidate’s “woman card” was too influential on what people thought of her. I chose pieces from different perspectives and I really can’t help wondering how it would go if the authors of these articles were in a room together!

When the New York Post ran I Want All the Perks of Maternity Leave — Without Having Any Kids, social media lit up with reactions to the concept of a “MEternity leave.” The author concludes that, “Work-life balance is tough for everyone, and it happens most when parents and nonparents support and don’t judge each other,” but en route to that balanced conclusion, the author stirred up the ire of many readers. Take a look at the comments and you’ll see!

Maybe the people grappling with the questions raised by the author of the preceding article would benefit from the in-depth discussion summarized in The Future of Women in Business: A Discussion on Gender Parity with Leading Women in Business Today from Ellevate. I love the passage about having “the courageous conversation.” We’ll have to have many courageous conversations in order to achieve gender parity.

Similarly, Breaking Through: Stories and Best Practices from Companies That Help Women Succeed in Huffpost Women is a book excerpt that ultimately asks, “given the proven importance of networking, why do women continue to lag behind?” This book needs to be on our lists.

Lightening things up just a bit, I enjoyed Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Jobs: 7 Leadership Tips and Career Smarts from the Laugh-Out-Loud Memoir by Tina Fey from Sharp Heels. My favorite takeaway was “it is important to be a team player, but likability is not the endgame at the workplace.”

In Winner’s Mentality from Femfessionals, Jessica Passman shared her advice for cultivating a winner’s mentality. “Every mistake is an opportunity to grow,” she reminds. She is so right!

Have you had an experience related to gender parity that has taught you or raised additional questions? Email me by clicking here to let me know!

Image Credit: 123rf/Carlos Santa Maria

Five Friday Highlights: Powerful Women and Leaning in Together

“Women are good for business” is the lead sentence in one of today’s highlighted articles. Of course they are! However, the path for powerful women (i.e., ALL women) to contribute their talents, energies, and intellect can still be rocky. This week, a look at the role of creativity in STEM education, and then a look at how creativity is being applied to open doors for women. To close things out, a post with thoughts on balance once the doors have been opened and the women are fully exerting their power in the workplace. What happens at home?

Much of my work is in technical industries, so I encounter women who utilize STEM skills routinely as part of their work. I agree with The Importance of Adding an “A” for Art + Design to the Famous Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Acronym in Sharp Heels. Young women (and men!) who are receiving a STEM-centric education still need to have their creativity nurtured and encouraged. As the article’s closing line states, “you can’t have science that truly means something to the mass of humanity if it lacks art, or art without some aspect of science.”

I was fascinated to read in Empowering Women Veteran Entrepreneurs from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that the number of veteran women-owned businesses in the U.S. has increased by nearly 300% since 2007! The SBA’s efforts on behalf of women veteran entrepreneurs includes resources such as loan programs, technical assistance, and V-WISE (Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship), a three-phase program which “enables women veterans to find their passion and learn business-savvy skills to turn ideas or businesses into growth ventures.”

Why isn’t there more female participation in the workforce? asks Want Double-Digit Growth? Hire Women from Fortune Magazine. As the piece outlines, a report from Citi’s Global Perspectives and Solutions reveals two reasons: policies and the outcome of these restrictive policies. Take the time to read the report; its insights are thought-provoking.

“This new era of women’s leadership development is no longer about struggle but rather about focus and balance” claims Louise A. Korver for Talent Management in Best Practices for a Different Kind of Women’s Leadership. Of the seventeen suggested best practices, two that stand out to me are “focus on career development” and “get women on boards.” Which of the seventeen do you think would have the most impact? (Tweet me at @melissa_lamson1 to let me know!)

Even once we women put together the intelligence, strategy, and communication skills to contribute our substantial assets to the world, we still have “home.” After all that Leaning In, how do we create an equitable distribution of time and energy to those who matter most? As the people quoted in Mark Zuckerberg Posts Baby Picture to Encourage  Active, Loving Fathers from Mashable, perhaps the Lean In equation needs an addition: TOGETHER. Read the #LeanInTogether quotes from high-powered businesspeople and tell me what you think!

Once women are fully exerting their power at work, how can families #LeanInTogether at home? {TWEET THIS}

Image Credit: Fotolia Sergey Nivens