Employers interested in attracting and retaining women and promoting greater gender diversity in their executive ranks will be interested in the Wall Street Journal’s Special Report on Women in the Workplace.  The Report contains a number of interesting articles including:

  • An article summarizing the results of a new study conducted by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co.
  • Articles discussing diversity initiatives at various companies including the setting of hiring and promotion goals, sponsorship programs, management bonuses based in part on achievement of diversity goals, leave and flexible work policies, among others.
  • Special features on women in technology and finance.
  • An article on societal factors contributing to a dearth of women in executive management including that, on average, women continue to do more of the work at home, which impacts their desire and ability to take on greater roles in their companies.
  • An article on unconscious gender bias.

One Article, discussing diversity goals, suggests that real progress can be made only when hiring and promotion targets are set and the meeting of such targets is tied to pay.  The article states that “[i]n Europe, quotas have become an accepted method of increasing the share of women on corporate boards.”  However, quotas are legally impermissible in the U.S.  The article quotes Corbett Anderson, assistant legal counsel with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that “employers should ‘proceed with caution’ when implementing targets to make sure they stay on the right side of the law.”  Aspirational goals can be set, and rules requiring diverse slates of candidates can be implemented, but decisions ultimately must be made based on qualifications, not gender.