The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » News » Everyone Should Promote Gender Balance According to INSEAD Research

Everyone Should Promote Gender Balance According to INSEAD Research

Image for Everyone Should Promote Gender Balance According to INSEAD Research

Improving gender balance isn’t just a problem for some businesses or individuals; it’s a problem for everyone. The most progressive companies are taking active steps to find a better balance, which is a very encouraging development.

A Multi-Pronged Approach to Gender Balance

The important thing to note when it comes to promoting gender balance is that there are no quick fixes. According to the INSEAD Gender Diversity Programme, it must be addressed on multiple fronts. Organizations don’t exist in a vacuum, so they have to not only deal with internal culture but societal inequalities, which can reinforce or exacerbate their company issues. That’s why many types of interventions are often required.

Something Better than Diversity Training

The U.S. spends approximately $8 billion per year on diversity training. These courses attempt to root out bias against underrepresented groups, including women, particularly among management. Unfortunately, in recent years, researchers have started to wonder if this has a lasting positive impact. In some cases, these courses have been known to make prejudices worse.

Instead, Harvard Kennedy School’s academic dean Iris Bohnet recommends a different course of action. She said that it’s too difficult to change people’s minds. Instead, you need to change the numbers first. She argues that if you focus more on creating clear rules and fair systems that have a de-biasing effect, that will work better. It’s a behavioral design-approach that’s all about fixing the hidden prejudices in the hiring process.

However, that doesn’t mean that psychological interventions can’t work. Over the past decades, while the perceived competence of women has grown, the assertive and competitive qualities have remained virtually flat. These stereotypes can harm a talented woman’s career prospects, but self-affirmation is a useful tool.

A 2016 academic paper looking at academic performance gaps between men and women revealed that focusing on core personal values can help the gap disappear almost entirely. Also, inclusive organizational signal and positive conversations with men can remove women’s social identity threats. There are many more psychologically-based interventions that can help, but these clearly demonstrate their success.

Learn more on INSEAD Knowledge.

Kelly Vo
Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and topics related to personal development. She has been working in the MBA space for the past four years in research, interview, and writing roles.