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Harvard Business Review | Gender Equity Is Not Zero Sum

Jan 4, 2021


To make progress toward gender equity, men need to be involved. But zero-sum bias often deters men from engaging in the conversation (let alone taking action) because it fuels the belief that men must sacrifice their resources or stature for women to earn a place at the table. Although zero-sum thinking is invalidated by the data, it pervades the workplace equity narrative.

Fortunately, organizations can take specific actions to overcome the zero-sum bias among male employees and move the needle on matters of gender equity: quantify gender equity in terms of economic gains for the company; hold leaders accountable for change by tying DEI metrics to performance reviews; offer development opportunities to increase gender intelligence, empathy, and self-efficacy; pull back the curtain on misperceived social norms; encourage cross-gender professional relationships; and frame, focus, and integrate interventions into core business outcomes and mission.

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