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Meeting in a Box: Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month takes place in March to celebrate women’s strength, tenacity, resilience and contributions around the world. Women are diverse, with different backgrounds, sexual orientations and abilities, and this month, we aim to celebrate all of them. This Meeting in a Box is a valuable tool to continue your employees’ cultural competence training and spotlight women’s accomplishments. In this Meeting in a Box, we provide a brief timeline of women’s history in the U.S., career advice from executive women from companies DiversityInc works with, facts and figures highlighting women in different demographic areas and a tip sheet on company policies, practices and culture that best serve women.

Click HERE to download a PDF version of the Women’s History Month Meeting in a Box, our diversity-management training and educational tool available only to Benchmarking customers and DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.

1. Women’s History Month Timeline

Because of the broadness of women’s history, this timeline begins in 1789 after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, but women played an important role before and during the Revolution as well. We recommend you start your Women’s History Month discussion with this summary of women’s history in the U.S. In this timeline, we review the waves of feminism, including the early moves by suffragettes and abolitionists, the fight for reproductive freedom and more representation of women in power, and the more recent moves to make feminism inclusive to women of different backgrounds.

Discussion Questions for Employees

  • What have been the most significant changes in women’s roles in the past few decades? The past 10 years?
  • Why are “firsts” important to note? What other significant changes for women’s rights come to mind?
  • Much of women’s history lessons involve white, middle or upper class women like Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Sanger, but women of many different backgrounds have played integral roles in the fight for gender and racial equality. Why is it important to have a historical view on women’s rights that is diverse?

Click HERE to download a PDF of the timeline.

2. Career Advice from Female Executives

In this section, we offer career advice from women who are leaders at some of the companies on DiversityInc’s 2019 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.

Patricia Rossman, the Chief Diversity Officer and Director of HR Communications at BASF (No. 12); Ije-Enu Udeze Nwosu, the Executive Director of Impact Spending at Kaiser Permanente (No. 1 top company for executive women); Emily Lauder, the Vice President of Administration at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi (No. 18); Laura Long, the Vice President of National Equity, Inclusion and Diversity at Kaiser Permanente; Mary Mack, the CEO of Consumer Banking at Wells Fargo (No. 13); and Gerri Mason Hall, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer at Sodexo (No. 2 top company for executive women) share how they’ve reached the top as women who are leaders.

Discussion Questions for Employees

  • Why is it important to see diverse leadership? Is it difficult to see yourself reaching the top if you have no examples of people similar to you who have done so? How can we define diversity broadly?
  • Does our company offer support, resources and access to leadership for lower-level female employees? Does everyone have the same opportunity to reach their career goals?
  • What stereotypes, attitudes and flaws can hold women back from reaching their career potential? How can we resist them?

Click HERE to download a PDF of Career Advice from Female Executives.

3. Facts & Figures

After discussing some highlights of women’s history and the success of women who are business leaders, the next step is to look at the available data to understand why parity for women has profound demographic, financial, education and business benefits and what we can do to celebrate diverse women and address the range of issues they face and strive to rise above.

Discussion Questions for Employees

  • Women come from diverse backgrounds, abilities, sexualities and identities. Why is it important to look at women’s issues with an inclusive and intersectional lens?
  • How can industries improve the numbers of women in various positions at companies? From entry-level to the top, what helps workers thrive?
  • Pay parity is a crucial argument in women’s movements. The statistic that women make 76% of men’s earnings is for the average women, factoring in numbers for women of all races/ethnicities. Women of color, overall, make even less. Knowing these facts, how does our company work to maintain equal pay?

Click HERE to download a PDF of facts & figures.

4. Empowering All Women: Tips on Fostering a Workplace Environment Where Women Thrive

This tipsheet includes advice from Lissiah Hundley, DiversityInc’s Head of Strategic Partnerships and Client Fulfillment, on workplace policies, practices and culture that not only make space for women but allow them to succeed in their careers. The advice we offer takes into account women from different backgrounds, of different abilities and of different gender and sexual identities — and with different family situations.

Discussion Questions for Employees

  • Women are certainly not a monolith. What other policies does our company have or know of that benefit women? Why?
  • What employee resource groups, leaders and other tools can we leverage to help us bolster women’s success?
  • What obstacles have women in this group experienced because of their gender? How did they overcome them? Conversely, what successes have they reached? This is an opportunity to allow the women in your group to speak about their experiences in the workplace. Encourage sharing personal stories and insight in safe and respectful environments.

Click HERE to download a PDF of the tipsheet.

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