Dismantling the Glass Ceiling | IBM Institute for Business Value

Workforce Trends

With over 5 million women leaving the US labor force alone in 2020, the female participation rate is now at 59 percent—the lowest since 1998. And with almost 70 percent of women feeling that gender bias and discrimination have held them back, this report offers six actions that firms can take to advance gender equality in the workplace. They include: 1) Help women maintain work-life balance, 2) Understand the impact of gender bias, 3) Empower women of color, 4) Train men to be allies, 5) Use technology to reduce discrimination, and 6) Make STEM careers more accessible and inclusive. The report has a “how-to” section that offers suggestions for implementing each action. For example, given estimates that women do at least two-and-a-half times more unpaid household and care work than men, one step firms can take to promote better family-work balance (action #1) is to “redefine success so that promotions and project assignments aren’t defined by the number of hours someone spends in the office.” Each of the steps provides helpful ideas on how firms can drive more meaningful progress toward advancing gender quality in the workplace.

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