In the past, we’ve operated from two fundamental beliefs. The first is that balanced gender representation should be achieved in business, government, and education. In order to achieve that goal, it requires viewing both genders as identical on the inside. The reach for equal representation has been a tangible and worthy demonstration of our search for gender equity, to be sure. However, we’ve found that equalizing the numbers doesn’t necessarily result in gender balance. Similarly, treating everyone the same would appear to help eradicate bias, but doesn’t result in gender equality.
What if the solution isn’t eliminating the differences between men and women themselves, but instead learning how to recognize, value, and leverage those differences?
Valuing gender differences is the core principle of our Gender Intelligence® services—a paradigm shift in thinking that finally cracks the code on gender equality.
Our Gender Intelligence® services focus on the understanding of and appreciation for the naturally occurring characteristics that distinguish men and women beyond the obvious biological and cultural, to include attitudinal and behavioral differences. Once we’re aware of how and why men and women think and act as they do, we can begin to understand gender-related tendencies, even our own, and we can engage more effectively in the workplace and in so many other areas of life.
You’ll find in this article that gender and cultural diversity is not something arrived at by achieving a quota, ignoring or tolerating our differences, or becoming less authentic to ourselves, just to succeed. It comes from understanding and appreciating the natural talents that men and women bring to the table.
As men and women come to understand each other’s ways of thinking and acting, they step up to a new and powerful level of conversation. They begin to include each other more confidently and more willingly.
There are economic benefits to this level of thinking. Organizations that practice gender and cultural diversity, and sustain a culture of inclusiveness grow in their global competitiveness. They secure and retain the best talent, make better strategic decisions, produce more relevant products and services that mirror the market, and, as a result, achieve superior financial results.
There are a number of highly successful organizations today instilling what we call a culture of difference-thinking. These companies are beacons for talented professionals. They’re recruiting and retaining the best and brightest men and women. There are a number of companies today building such organizations and realizing the value of their efforts. They’ve taken the first step with leadership commitment and involvement.