Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Newest of New Mainstream: How to Market to the LGBT Community

by Cesar M. Melgoza
Originally Published: April 30th, 2015

I spend a lot of time providing marketers with guidance on what strategies and tactics they should leverage in order to better appeal to the New Mainstream, which many consider synonymous with multicultural. Despite spending most of my career helping brands target the multicultural community, I disagree with that definition.
Instead, I define the New Mainstream as the population segments that are challenging the way we see the world, have significant buying power and are impacting the way that business is conducted. Those are not only emerging ethnicities: This group consists of millennials, women and last, but certainly not least, the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. 
While many argue that these populations segments are not exactly new to America, there's no denying that in recent years the groups have become increasingly vocal about their personal preferences, and marketers have been tasked to respond accordingly. The LGBT population in particular is one of the more vocal populations that have developed a corporate equality index, rating companies' friendliness to the LGBT community.
At Geoscape's New Mainstream Business Summit this March, we had the honor of hosting Jenn T. Grace, LGBT marketing expert, who provided incredible insights into why and how marketers can better target this influential group of consumers. 
Jenn explained that the buying power of the LGBT community currently stands around $830 billion dollars annually, placing them just behind the African-American and Hispanic markets. Because the size of the LGBT population is smaller than the other groups, each dollar spent is even more impactful. However, the population remains a mystery to marketers, who leverage a broad-strokes approach and fail to understand that there is no single definition of LGBT. 
Based on my conversation with Jenn, I drew three lessons that marketers must embrace in order to better understand and target the LGBT community:
Understand complexity. 
Jenn noted that the biggest mistake made when targeting the LGBT community is that marketers often treat the entire community as a monolithic group of people. More often than not, they stereotype the entire community as being affluent white men -- which is incredibly off base. She explained that the LGBT community is one that crosses all other diversities and each individual requires a personalized approach. Similar to the Hispanic community, that is far more complex than marketers realize; sexuality falls on a spectrum and is seen across socio-economic level, gender, ethnicity and religion. 

Be inclusive. 

With a population that is so broad and complex, it's hard to believe that any single company is truly "doing it right." When I asked Jenn to provide an example of an organization that she believes is marketing successfully to LGBT, she explained that there are several and that the key to their success is that they "understand the concept of inclusion, and the art of intentionally including LGBT people in their mainstream marketing." 
She explained that smart brands know that, "A good campaign begins and ends with a total market approach." Rather than isolating LGBT consumers, it's important that they take an inclusive approach and feature LGBT couples throughout their advertising efforts. "Looking through the lens of diversity and inclusion -- diversity really groups people together based on their different characteristics, while inclusion is the act of ensuring all people are feeling included."
Commit to your message.
Finally, Jenn explained the importance of embodying a message. She provided the example of Nabisco's "This is Wholesome" campaign, that featured a 30-second spot focused on diverse families, including one that was gay. Unfortunately the campaign drew criticism from anti-gay protesters. However, rather than buckling to the criticism the company responded with a video featuring two artists rolling up all of the negative hate-filled comments and creating a mosaic that read, "Love." In doing so, the company received 10 times as many supportive comments. 
While the LGBT community is incredibly complex, they are an important emerging voice that shouldn't be oversimplified or neglected. LGBT audiences belong in the New Mainstream discussion, in a category alongside Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans. More broadly, these groups have a collective value that deserves an appropriate share of resources and attention. LGBT is the new mainstream, and should and should be better represented and understood within our collective marketing efforts.

Read the original article from Huffington Post here:

How the Supreme Court Actually Mirrors the American Public on Marriage Equality

by Michelangelo Singorile
Originally Published: April 30th, 2015

Some in the media have portrayed the Supreme Court justices' questions in Tuesday's historic marriage equality oral arguments -- particularly those by conservative justices talking about ancient Greece and the "millennia" -- as completely out of touch. That may be so when it comes to actual history, but sitting inside the court during arguments in Obergefell vs. Hodges on Tuesday as a protestor screamed out, "If you support gay marriage, you will burn in Hell!" I couldn't help but think that the court, judging by the questions posed and predictions base on 2013's Windsor decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, actually represents where the American people are on marriage equality. 
Justice Scalia, after the heckler was carted out, broke the room's silence, quipping, "It was rather refreshing, actually." I doubt he'd have made a similar wisecrack had the protestor been pro-gay and called marriage equality opponents "haters." And it's likely that Justices Thomas and Alito agreed with the basic sentiments Scalia seemed to be expressing -- a sense of pride, even, that passionate religious opposition to same-sex marriage rang out loudly, at the same time that conservatives across the country continue to craft "religious freedom" laws to blunt LGBT equality in the states.
A majority of the country, we're told by the polls, favors marriage equality. In some recent polls it's a bare majority, while in a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll itreached a high of 61 percent. That majority was well-represented, in roughly those percentages, by the court's four liberals and by Justice Kennedy, who might represent the softer support in that majority. The liberals on the court, like many Americans who've come to support marriage equality, were not only much more well-informed on the issue than during the Windsor arguments in 2013, but much more forceful in their adversarial questioning.
Justices Kagan, Sotomayor and Breyer aggressively questioned John Bursch, special assistant attorney general for Michigan, arguing on behalf of the opponents of marriage equality. The questions and statements were relentless, and they debunked his weak argument that marriage is for the sole purpose of procreation, and therefore should be restricted to heterosexuals. Justice Scalia tried to throw him a lifeline, reminding him that his case didn't rest on procreation alone, but it didn't work. Joined by Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy, Bursch's arguments were completely slayed by the liberals on the court in the end. 
Even as polls show a majority agree with the sentiments these pro-equality justices expressed, the roughly 35-to-40-something percent of Americans opposed to marriage equality seem to be very opposed, at least from what we see happening in the country. In that recent Washington Post poll that shows record high support overall for marriage equality, six in 10 Republicans are opposed -- surely a reason why Republican would-be and announced presidential candidates still remain opposed to gay marriage -- and among "conservative" Republicans, the same poll showed 71 percent opposed. 
They, too, were well represented among the justices on Tuesday. While Thomas stayed silent as usual, it's fair to say from past decisions that he's in the camp of Scalia and Alito, who, like many in the 40-something percent minority, focused over and over again on how marriage has supposedly been defined as between a man and woman for "millennia" -- again, a completely inaccurate read of history, but one with which that many Americans agree. Justice Roberts joined in on this, stating that every definition of marriage he's seen defines it as between a man and woman, as did Justice Kennedy, perhaps making some equality supporters nervous when he made the "millennia" claim too. Even liberal Justice Breyer challenged attorney Mary Bonauto, who argued on behalf of the gay and lesbian couples seeking to marry, by claiming marriage has supposedly been defined as between a man and a woman for "thousands" of years.
While in the case of Breyer, who later pummeled Bursch, this might have been a devil's advocate question to elicit an articulate answer from Bonauto, for Kennedy it seemed to be an expression of his discomfort with moving too fast, even though, by virtue of his history of rulings, he supports gay rights. He perhaps could be viewed as representing that mushier middle who support gay marriage, but still have some concerns about how far equality should go and how fast. An Associated Press poll released yesterday shows that while a majority of Americans believes gays shouldn't be discriminated against generally (and supports marriage equality), a majority believes wedding-related businesses shouldn't have to serve gay couples (52 percent, down slightly from a prior poll of a few months ago which showed 57 percent shared this opinion.)
The Supreme Court's ruling in Loving vs. Virginia in 1967, was a 9-0 decision, striking down bans on interracial marriage, and helping to rapidly shift public opinion. No one is expecting anything close to that in this case. Most legal experts see the 5-4 split we saw in Windsor in favor of marriage equality, though Justice Roberts could surprise and make it 6-3, and, whether he joins or not, the decision might be on narrow grounds and have few broad implications for gay rights beyond marriage. Either way, what the justices do by and large represents where the American people are on the issue and how, though a majority favors equality, the minority is substantial and deep-seated in its beliefs -- and encompasses entire parts of the country throughout the Deep South, where conservatives are busy promoting dozens of laws to blunt marriage equality. There will be an enormous amount of work for LGBT activists to do, and many more battles ahead, including those back at the Supreme Court.
Michelangelo Signorile's new book, It's Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality, is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Read the original article from Huffington Post here:

Poll: American Men Embracing Gender Equality

by Ronald Brownstein
Originally Published: April 30th, 2015

The gender revolution has met the demographic revolution.
A new survey of men's attitudes toward women, family, and relations between the sexes has found much more similarity than difference among the perspectives of whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities.
That convergence suggests that changes in family and gender dynamics are permeating minority and working-class communities that many researchers have long assumed held more culturally traditional or conservative views about the role of women.
The poll, conducted by the Democratic polling firm Hart Research Associates for The Shriver Report, founded by Maria Shriver, explored men's attitudes about an unusually wide range of issues related to gender roles in society. In the survey, the samples of African-American and Hispanic men were too small to allow for statistically valid results for each of those groups individually. But The Shriver Report provided Next America with combined results among minorities that did provide a statistically valid sample to compare with whites; it also provided statistically valid results among whites with and without four-year college degrees.
Many key questions in the survey underscored how much all of those groups have converged around a new consensus on gender relations. That agreement offered a stark contrast to the routine chasms in attitudes between whites and minorities, and often between college and noncollege whites, on many political questions. "In every community, women have gone out and are working and very often they are making more than their husbands or their partners," Shriver said in an interview. "I think people assume that Latinos and African Americans are more culturally conservative on certain issues. But I think the 21st-century man, as we are calling him, is very different from five, six, nine years ago [in all racial communities]."
Put another way, the survey suggests that men from all rungs on the economic and social ladder were open to the "partnership of equals" that is often assumed to thrive most in white-collar and upper middle-class families where both spouses earn substantial incomes.
One survey question, for instance, asked men to rate how comfortable they would be in a series of potential life experiences. Responding to those questions, 85 percent of white men and 82 percent of minority men said they would be comfortable with a wife or partner who worked outside the home; 74 percent of white men and 71 percent of minority men said they would be comfortable having a woman as a boss; and 77 percent of white men and 75 percent of minority men said they would be comfortable with a partner or spouse who earned more than they did.
About an equal, though substantially smaller, share of white (at 46 percent) and nonwhite men (at 40 percent) also said they were comfortable with the prospect of "being a stay at home dad and not working outside of the home to focus on raising a child." Similarly small percentages of white (38 percent) and minority men (37 percent) agreed that they feel "uncomfortable around homosexual men."
Although the samples were too small for detailed analysis, the results showed very small differences between African Americans and Hispanics on all of those questions (except that Hispanics were less likely than African Americans or whites to say they were uncomfortable around gay men). The variation on these questions was also modest among whites with and without a four-year college degree (though noncollege white men were notably less comfortable about the prospect of working for a woman).
The poll also found more agreement than disagreement across racial lines on the qualities men said they wanted in a wife or partner. Asked to identify the top two or three qualities they would want in a partner, similar shares of white and minority men picked "intelligent" (75 percent white, 64 percent minority); "sweet" (32 vs. 37); "nurturing" (28 vs. 24); "principled" (26 vs. 27); and "homemaker" (14 vs. 14). Wider differences emerged in some other areas. Whites were more likely to emphasize "attractive" (49 percent vs. 35 percent among minorities), while minority men were more likely to stress "strong" (36 minority vs. 24 white) and "independent" (40 minority vs. 31 white). Black and Hispanic men differed little on these issues, too, though the former put more emphasis on "strong" and the latter more on "sweet."
White and minority men also mostly converged in the qualities they said they would prize in a daughter—though in each case, those qualities diverged in revealing ways from their priorities in a spouse or partner. In thinking about a daughter, both white and minority men put top priority on intelligence (78 percent among whites, 87 percent among nonwhites), independence (66 white, 65 minority), and strength (47 white, 49 minority). White men put greater emphasis on "principled" (40 percent vs. 24 percent for minorities), while minorities put relatively more stress on "sweet" (26 percent for minorities vs. 16 percent for whites).
Jeff Horwitt, who directed the survey for Hart Research Associates, noted that both white and minority men mostly prized qualities in a daughter that correlate with success in the workplace. "Reading the survey as a whole," Horwitt wrote last week in The Wall Street Journal, "the qualities that men want most in a daughter—intelligent, independent, strong, and principled—are the qualities that help women thrive in the workplace." In the interview, Shriver summed up the contrast in attitudes more archly: "Men are saying they don't want their daughters to be beholden to a guy like them."

Read the original article from The National Journal here:

Aboriginal representation on corporate boards ‘woefully inadequate’

by Mark Hume
Originally Published: April 30th, 2015

Pamela Jeffery thought it was hard when she started lobbying to get more women appointed to corporate boardrooms, but that’s nothing compared to what she’s facing now pushing another unrepresented demographic: aboriginals.
“It’s tougher,” said Ms. Jeffery of the challenge that was the focus of a summit Wednesday in Vancouver which discussed “the gulf that seems to exist between corporate Canada and aboriginal people.”
Ms. Jeffery, founder of the Canadian Board Diversity Council and the Women’s Executive Network, said since 2010 the CBDC has been closely watching the makeup of the top 500 boards in Canada, and it’s shocking how few aboriginals have a seat at the table.
“The representation is woefully inadequate – at 0.8 per cent – for aboriginal people,” she said, noting native people make up about 4.3 per cent of the national population.
Ms. Jeffery said by comparison about 16 per cent of the board seats on the top 500 companies are held by women, with females making up about 50 per cent of the Canadian population.
She said it’s tougher to get aboriginals appointed to boards than women, not only because of the smaller numbers available to choose from, but also because so few corporate directors have native people in their social or corporate circles.
“Because they tend to reach into their networks to appoint new board members it perpetuates the lack of diversity on boards,” she said.
“Each year we ask corporate directors how they identify potential new directors to bring forward on slates to their shareholders. And each year our research shows that four of five directors brought on to boards are brought on by the existing directors. And so typically those existing directors don’t have [aboriginal people] within their own networks.”
For the past several years, the CBDC has been annually identifying 50 of “Canada’s most diverse and eligible board candidates,” publishing a list in the hope that boards will step outside their usual zone of familiarity to make appointments from unrepresented groups, such as women and visible minorities.
Ms. Jeffery said she’d like to see more aboriginal candidates being selected by boards, but it is difficult getting momentum for change.
Asked what level of enthusiasm she’s seeing from corporate directors, she replied: “Well, we’ve started the conversation. And you know it’s similar to the conversation that I was having with boards 17 years ago with respect to women on boards.”
In hopes of making a breakthrough, Ms. Jeffery has teamed up with J.P. Gladu, president and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, for a series of summits involving aboriginal and business leaders. The next event is in Calgary on May 14.
Mr. Gladu, a member of the Sand Point First Nation on Lake Nipigon in Ontario, said the effort is long overdue.
“Pamela’s organization does all this great work. They’ve got the Diversity 50 [candidates identified for boards]. They put everything out on a silver platter for these corporations and her organization is definitely seeing some success [with women and minorities],” he said. “But with that 0.8 per cent … it’s dismal and speaks volumes that we really have a way to go.”
Mr. Gladu said he felt “a sense of sadness” about the low number of aboriginals on boards, but senses there is a growing awareness in Canada that it’s a problem. “I believe corporate Canada understands if they don’t build relationships with our people and go back to the fundamentals of what it means to do business together, they are recognizing that projects will become more risky and potentially jeopardized,” he said.
Mr. Gladu attributed the lack of native people on boards to “fear of the unknown” rather than racism, saying most board directors simply don’t know any aboriginals.He’s hoping that through the summits, he and Ms. Jeffery can make a lot more introductions and achieve a 5-per-cent representation of aboriginals on boards.

Read the original article from The Globe and Mail here:

Mental health charities can help people where the NHS cannot

by Lisa Weaks
Originally Published: April 30th, 2015

With one in four people suffering from mental health problems each year, and one in 10 young people, the challenges facing services are significant. This is a sizeable population and a range of responses is needed for their treatment, including community-based options.
The role of the voluntary and community organisations in supporting mental health conditions is well established. These organisations are rooted in their communities, are trusted by the people they work with, have a long history of social action and user-led interventions, sit outside of clinical settings, and are able to offer significant and effective levels of support.
The NHS Five Year Forward View explicitly refers to the voluntary and charitable sector as having an important role in helping to meet key challenges facing the health and social care system, and it argues for a new relationship with patients and communities. 
The following mental health charities have been recognised in the annual GSK Impact Awards, for their work in providing effective mental health services that complement the statutory sector.
CoolTan Arts, based in Southwark, is run by and for people with mental distress. The organisation promotes positive mental health and works to transform people’s lives through creativity, self-advocacy, guided walks and volunteer opportunities. It also aims to reduce reliance on statutory services. In the words of a local GP commissioner: “CoolTan does things that the NHS can’t do. We focus on diagnosing and treating people, they focus on keeping people well.” It has a very active volunteers programme, which saw 1,720 hours of volunteering last year. 
Half of people with lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms before the age of 15, and early identification and intervention can make a difference. Bristol-based Off the Record works with 11- to 25-year-olds to improve their mental health and wellbeing and prevent avoidable crises. It supports young people with a range of conditions. 
Its positive impact on young people can be clearly demonstrated; for example, 82% of those having counselling have reported a tangible improvement in their mental health. Its in-depth understanding of users’ needs and ability to engage with hard-to-reach groups has won it respect from the local statutory sector. It has also helped drive forward the development of youth community mental health provision in Bristol.
Poor mental health often precipitates premature job loss and, equally, joblessness is closely associated with the onset or recurrence of mental health problems. Problems linked to mental health conditions are now the greatest cause of sickness absence in England. Finding work becomes increasingly difficult the longer the person is unemployed. 
Restore is the only charity in Oxfordshire dedicated to helping people with mental health issues get voluntary work or paid employment. Severe and recurring mental health problems occur for 80% of users, causing them difficulties in getting and keeping a job. Its services include one-to-one coaching and recovery groups which help service users develop personal goals, implement plans to achieve them and move forward. As one service user said: “You gain self-confidence, they get you ready for work – it’s a win-win situation.” Last year, Restore helped a quarter of its service users to gain employment or voluntary work, or to keep their existing jobs.
These award-winning organisations, which were judged on six areas – including innovation, achievement and focus on community needs – validate just how much community-based initiatives contribute to the health and social care system. People suffering from long-term conditions, such as mental health problems, will spend most of their time outside of NHS and social care settings. These organisations demonstrate the value of community-based approaches that focus on preventing ill health and effectively managing conditions.
The value of the work the voluntary and charitable sector does in communities across the UK is often overlooked. Relationships between commissioners and these organisations can be improved. However, if the local knowledge, ideas, energy and the momentum of charities such as these were harnessed and replicated, just what could be achieved? Perhaps we would then see a real shift in power and the beginnings of a better relationship with patients and communities that the Forward View is so keen to promote.

Read the original article from The Guardian here:

5 Ways To Get More Women Involved In Tech Startups

by Rachel Wolfson
Originally Published: April 29th, 2015

I recently returned from Knowledge15, ServiceNow’s annual tradeshow consisting of thousands of IT professionals coming together to learn how to leverage cloud services and transform enterprise service management. With over 9,000 IT professionals and ServiceNow employees, one might assume there would have been a somewhat equal ratio of men to women attendees. This wasn’t this case, however, and I felt like one of the very few women present at this massive tech conference.
To make matters worse, I hosted an SF DevOps meetup the very next day at work after returning from Knowledge15. While there was a relatively large turnout of professionals interested in DevOps, not a single woman showed up to the event.
After considering the small percentage of women present at Knowledge15, and the all male audience at the SF DevOps meetup, it became very clear that there simply are not enough women involved in the tech sector. As a woman who has been working at tech startups for the past 3 years, I started wondering why there are so few women involved in such a thriving and exciting field. With this question in mind, I came up with a list of five ways to help increase the number of women workers in tech startups:
  • Be Proactive – Seek Women Out: A number of programs and non-profit organizations have been created to help encourage women to become more involved in tech. Girls Who Code, for example, is a national nonprofit organization that works to educate and motivate young women to pursue career opportunities in technology. This organization offers 60 summer programs, aimed at empowering thousands of women with intensive STEM training. Girls Who Code even offers tech startups opportunities to extend internships to Girls Who Code alumni. Additionally, there are a number of “Women in Tech” meetups that have been created (especially in the San Francisco Bay area), aimed at encouraging and helping women find jobs in the tech space. By regularly attending meetups and non-profit events such as these, tech startup professionals can network and seek out young women interested in technology to join their company.
  • Practice What You Preach – Hire Women: Diversity within a company only encourages individuals of all backgrounds to get involved. A tech startup that is open towards women tends to attract more female employees. For example, before I started working at Moogsoft, both a male and a female interviewed me. Knowing that Moogsoft had a marketing team headed by a man and a woman was really encouraging, and excited me because it showed that there was room for growth as a female. Once I started working at Moogsoft, I learned a lot about opportunities for women who want to grow as technical writers. Knowing that I was going into a company open to hiring women made me feel welcomed and more determined than ever to develop my career in technology.
  • Take The Next Step – Offer Internships: Tech startups looking to hire more women should take initiative by offering internship programs geared towards advancing young women in technology. By partnering with nearby universities, tech startups can reach out to women in STEM fields by offering them the opportunity to help advance their company. I previously worked for a startup in the big data space, for example, that hired college students to help with coding projects. These students were able to customize their work schedule to ensure that they still had time to devote to their studies, and were able to gain real-world coding experience. Offering internships to women in particular is just another way to encourage women to join tech startups after completing their studies.
  • Act as a Mentor: One of the best parts about working at a growing tech startup is the relationship building process. Startups are often smaller companies, and therefore allow for employees to grow and learn from one another. As the Content Marketing Manager at Moogsoft, I am able to work directly with the company’s CMO. Working with the CMO and other executives has allowed me to understand what is involved in the decision making process at a tech startup, and these individuals continue to serve as mentors for building my career in the technology sector.
  • We Call The Shots – Let Women Take on Multiple Roles: If you’ve ever worked for a startup, you know that one role involves wearing many hats. As a woman, taking on multiple responsibilities at once is exciting, and has allowed me to learn about various segments of a startup. Having a large amount of responsibility within a company can be very fulfilling, especially for young women who are hoping to build their career in the tech field.
Encouragement goes a long way, especially when it comes to getting more women involved in tech startups. Being proactive and seeking out women to hire demonstrates that a startup is open to having females on board. Hiring women, offering student internships, serving as a mentor and allowing women employees to wear multiple hats will ultimately help encourage more females to jump on board the tech-startup bandwagon. Yet while these actions may seem easy enough, there are still a number of tech startups that still need to take the initiative to bring more women to their company.

Read the original article from Business 2 Community here:

Pope calls gender wage gap 'pure scandal.' But does he practice what he preaches?

by Husna Haq
Originally Published: April 29th, 2015

In comments widely covered by media, Pope Francis championed women's employment and equal pay, calling wage disparities between men and women "pure scandal."
But a closer look at the Vatican's hiring practices suggests the Pope may have some work to do in his own backyard.
"Why is it taken for granted that women must earn less than men?" the Pope told tens of thousands of people at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. "No! They have the same rights. The discrepancy is a pure scandal," he said, adding that Catholics must "decisively support the right to equal pay for equal work."
The 78-year-old Pope's comments on wage equality were actually part of a wider reflection on the role of marriage in society. But it was his comments about equal pay that drew the most interest.
Francis said that Christians around the world, whose faith tradition espouses "radical equality" between spouses "must become more demanding" in achieving that equality in the workplace.
In the US, which has made progress toward closing the pay gap, including such programs as President Obama's Equal Pay Day measures, designed to bolster enforcement of equal pay laws, there still isn't a single state where women are paid as much as men, a report by the American Association of University Women found. In fact, on average, women make 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man.
But according to recent reports, when it comes to hiring women, the Vatican itself has a less-than-stellar record.
In 2014, only 18 percent of Holy See employees were women, according to statistics released on the eve of International Women's Day and reported by the Associated Press.
In Vatican City's government, which runs the Vatican Museums, the Vatican supermarket, the pharmacy, and the department store, 19 percent of employees were women in 2014.
The Vatican itself views the same statistics as a sign that the presence of women is growing at the Vatican, pointing out that the number of women employees of the city-state's government has nearly doubled over the past decade, from 195 in 2004 to 371 in 2014, from 13 to 19 percent.
Because the Vatican doesn't provide financial or earnings data, it is difficult to calculate and compare wages of the men and women who work there.
But no matter how you consider the statistics, there's no disputing the fact that women rarely hold top offices in the Vatican. And though Francis has pledged to give women a greater role in the Roman Catholic church and the Vatican bureaucracy, he has ruled out the possibility that women could become priests or head congregations (or pope, for that matter), saying the "door is closed."
Francis also drew scrutiny recently for some tone-deaf comments about women, as the AP reported. "He said Europe in many places resembles an "infertile" grandmother. He urged nuns not to be "old maids." And he welcomed new female members of the church's most prestigious theological commissions as "strawberries on the cake.""
While Pope Francis may have some work to do bolstering the Vatican's employment practices – and perhaps polishing his own gender-themed commentary – this is not the first time the Vatican has spoken out on gender equality.
In 1995, Pope John Paul II wrote a “letter to women" addressing inequality head-on. He said "there is an urgent need to achieve real equality in every area: equal pay for equal work, protection for working mothers, fairness in career advancements, equality of spouses with regard to family rights.”

Read the original article from The Christian Science Monitor here:

How to solve the gender pay gap? Here’s an idea: Cut men’s wages

by Dave McGinn
Originally Published: April 29th, 2015

The fight for gender pay equity won a small victory on Tuesday. McMaster University announced that, following a two-year study that revealed differences in pay between men and women, female faculty will be getting a raise. Or, in other words, the Hamilton university will finally be paying women what they should have been making all this time. Hooray! Sort of.

In 2012 and 2013, female faculty members took home on average $3,515 less than men on faculty, even after adjusting for age, seniority, faculty and tenure, according to the study.
The pay increase will kick in on July 1, the Canadian Press reports.
Will other Canadian universities follow McMaster’s example? Probably not. What about almost every workplace in Canada where the gender wage gap exists, meaning almost every workplace in Canada? Again, probably not, going by the history of pay equity.
The pace of change has been as slow as the problem is obvious. Study after study, report after report, commission after commission have all concluded that the gender wage gap is both real and needs to be closed. And yet it persists. And persists. We can’t count on business as usual. We shouldn’t count on karma.
If we want to rally the needed support to solve the problem, we should stop focusing on raising women’s pay, because clearly that hasn’t worked. There’s another way of closing the gap: We should make every man in this country take a 20-per-cent pay cut. Overnight, we’d go from the status quo to pitchforks in the street, all-out political fury.
Traditionally, there have been two arguments to close the gender pay gap. One is the straightforward appeal to moral fairness. Unfortunately, while “equal pay for equal work” makes complete sense, it has for the most part fallen on deaf ears since Dickens was roaming the streets of sooty London, pen in hand.
The other argument is based on the economic impact of the pay gap. For example, a report released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2012 said that governments should close the gap to boost gross domestic product.
“Investment in gender equality yields the highest returns of all development investments,” the report said.
Many people, including Emanuela Heyninck, commissioner of Ontario’s Pay Equity Commission, have tried to put the emphasis on the second argument.
“For the most part, it has been treated and continues to be treated as a women’s issue or an equality issue, rather than an economic imperative,” Heyninck told The Globe and Mail in 2012.
Both arguments labour under the same assumption: The only way to close the gender pay gap is to raise women’s earnings. Men and our paycheques remain the unquestioned standard. But of course there is another way to close the gap.
I’m sure most men would agree that “equal pay for equal work” is a morally unimpeachable standard. And most men are aware that the pay gap hurts them economically, even if it is at a very abstract level.
“For families, it’s a real problem if we’re not paying women the same as men,” says Kate McInturff, a senior researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. “Families clearly are depending on female incomes to be able to make ends meet.”
But that awareness hasn’t done anything to greatly accelerate the pace at which the pay gap is closing.
For every dollar earned by a university-educated male worker in Canada, a university-educated female in the public sector makes 82 cents, and a university-educated woman in the private sector makes 73 cents, according to a study released by the CCPA last year.
There are many factors that explain the gender wage gap. One is that women and men tend to work in different industries, and the sectors in which women work tend to pay less, as McInturff points out.
But studies have shown that at least 40 per cent of the pay gap can’t be explained by any measurable reason.
Possible explanations include “overt sexism” and “unintentional gender-based discrimination,” among others, according to the Center for American Progress. Do you think? Maybe? Possibly?
Even the men who agree still take home the same paycheque they always have. Slash that paycheque by 20 per cent and they will be up in arms.
Of course, a lot of men will probably be livid with such a proposal. The unfairness of it will gnaw at them. Feel that anger? That frustration at being punished so undeservedly? Now imagine having that with you every day of your working life.

Read the original article from The Globe and Mail here:

The Tool Canada Uses to Assess the Gender Gap

by Kirsty Duncan
Originally Published: April 29th, 2015

In 1995, the federal government committed itself to implementing gender-based analysis ("GBA") throughout its agencies and departments. This move was to coincide with the United Nations' Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. 
The GBA is an analytical tool to assess how the impact of policies and programs on women might differ from their impact on men. Used correctly and implemented consistently, it can contribute to attaining the goal of gender equality. 
Failure to consider the disparate impact of policies on men and women, however, can have profoundly negative results. For example, cardiovascular disease, which is the number one killer of women, was traditionally considered a men's disease. As a result, research focused on middle-aged men ignored the fact that some women with heart disease might have different symptoms. 
Since 1995, the federal government has repeated its commitment to implement GBA through several announcements. Yet in 2009, when the Auditor General undertook an audit of seven departments "whose responsibilities can impact men and women differently," this audit found that there was no government-wide policy requiring departments and agencies to apply GBA. Moreover, the "existence and completeness of a GBA framework varied considerably among the departments."
This March, the international community came together for the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action. Against this backdrop, it is important to examine, once again, the existing gender gap in Canada, and what is happening with respect to GBA. 
Despite significant global and national attention to gender equality and women's empowerment, Canada is nowhere near achieving equality. According to the World Economic Forum, Canada ranks 19th among 142 countries regarding the gender gap, 42nd in female parliamentary representation, and a shocking 100th on health and survival. 
Paradoxically, a briefing by Status of Women Canada (SWC) officials revealed the presence of a "Centre for Excellence for Gender-based Analysis." Yet when I questioned what this "centre" consists of, whether it is part of the network of centres for excellence, and whether it has dedicated funding, I was told that "it is just a name" and that it is meant to reflect that GBA+ is a core competency for the government. The "plus" contained in the name is to highlight that GBA goes beyond gender, and includes the examination of a range of other factors, such as age, culture, education, geography, income, and language.
When I questioned what funding is provided for GBA+, I was informed that there is "no funding" because it is considered a core competency, and thus everyone is expected to undertake it. 
And when I questioned what‎ it cost to produce a SWC two-hour, online course intended to train civil servants, no answers were available, although the "upgrade" of this course was thought to cost about $30,000. 
Some 1,500 officials were thought to have taken the interactive course and received a certificate. According to the Clerk of the Privy Council, the number of employees of the federal public service in March 2013 was close to 263,000 employees. How many of the bureaucracy's executives, deputy ministers, and associate deputy ministers, have actually taken the course and/or prescribed it to their teams? It should be noted that no further training was thought to be required beyond this initial, one-time, two-hour course.
It is disturbing that there was no tracking of whether departments had a GBA unit, or whether they had undertaken a pilot project, or what they had invested in GBA. And further questions remain: what agencies and departments can provide evidence that shows GBA+ is used in designing public policy? What agencies and departments can provide evidence to Cabinet and Treasury Board on gender impacts of policy proposals? 
Today, we know that women account for 50.4 per cent of the Canadian population. We also know that gender equality can enhance productivity, improve outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative.
Closing the gender gaps in Canada will require some real answers regarding the government's level of commitment to GBA.

Read the original article from Huffington Post here:

Want to Attract Better Talent? Showcase Flexibility

by Allison O'Kelly
Originally Published: April 29th, 2015

Talent is arguably the single most important factor in your company’s success.
And in a candidate’s market, an employer brand that showcases flexibility can greatly enhance your ability to attract that talent. Case in point? According to the 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study by, 75 percent of employees and 74 percent of unemployed ranked workplace flexibility as the most important benefit they desire.
Knowing that workplace flexibility should be a central element of your employer brand is one thing; knowing how to properly promote it to candidates is another.
Today’s post will help you connect these two very important dots. It contains several practical ideas for showcasing flexibility the right way in your employer brand — and recruiting the right caliber of talent.
1. Prepare. Before you start using workplace flexibility as a recruiting tool, get your proverbial ducks in a row.
Make sure you’re “walking the walk.” Before you begin actively promoting workplace flexibility as part of your employment brand, be sure you actually offer the things high-performing professionals want — and that employees’ perceptions of your offerings align with your own.
Do your homework. How can you be sure you’re offering the right flexibility options to recruit (and retain) top talent? It’s simple — ask! Here are a few ideas to determine top flexibility issues:
  • Meet. Open the lines of communication with your team to explore existing and potential flex strategies. Start with a brainstorming session, and then move onto a viability analysis to determine which ideas really have the most merit (i.e., strategies that enhance work-life satisfaction while still getting great results from your team).
  • Survey. Conduct an anonymous employee survey to determine the value of current and proposed flex work options.
  • Research. To ensure your flexibility offerings will appeal to those hard-to-recruit candidates you need to attract, do a little digging. Countless resources are available online to help you understand the mindsets and unique needs of knowledge workers, marketing professionals and business consultants — or just about any other type of candidate you’re trying to recruit.
  • Go straight to the source. Post a question about flex work options in a relevant industry forum. You may get candid, first-hand insights to help you target your offerings.
Craft the right message. When using flexibility as a recruiting tool, be sure to use the right language.
  • Workplace flexibility is a strategy. It’s all about delivering great results for your business and its customers, while delivering a healthy work-life mix for employees. As such, using terms like “benefit,” “policy” or “program” may place unnecessary limits on the way candidates perceive your offerings.
  • The term “work-life balance” has gone by the wayside. The lines between work and home life have all but disappeared. Terms like “work/life satisfaction,” “work-life blend” and “work-life mix” resonate more with the modern professional.
  • Create a flexibility core story. Get your organization’s best writers involved to tell your organization’s story:
    • Detail the process you used to develop your flex strategy, highlighting the role your employees played.
    • Explain how your strategy aligns with your mission and vision.
    • Clarify how flexibility offerings benefit both employees and your business. Making both sides of the case legitimizes your strategy.
    • Use this core story to consistently describe your flex strategy as part of your total employer brand.
2. Showcase. With a sound strategy and message in place, you’re ready to start using flexibility as a real talent magnet.
Feature flexibility in action on your website. Candidates want more than a laundry list of programs; they want to see flexibility in action within your organization.
  • Interview key employees so they can share their experiences. Use their input to craft short case studies or testimonials that explain the benefits employees realize.
  • Upload short video clips that showcase real employees job sharing, telecommuting, working flex hours or other examples of your strategy in practice.
  • Show both the formal and informal ways employees achieve the flexibility they need.
  • Pepper your message throughout your site. Potential candidates may enter your site at any number of locations:
    • If you create a page dedicated to your workplace flexibility strategy, include it in your navigation and add links to the page throughout your site.
    • Even if you don’t add a dedicated page, include appropriate messaging on candidates’ most-visited pages.
Integrate flexibility offerings into your recruiting efforts. Successful employer branding is about convincing potential candidates that your offerings are better than the next employer’s. So, think and act like a marketer! Once you’ve built your strategy, actively market it everywhere you connect with talent — not just on your website. Consider opportunities for reinforcing your message on:
  • Job postings. Create a pared-down version of your flexibility core story to include in every posting.
  • Social media accounts. Adapt your message to the platform. Add more formal messaging to your organization’s LinkedIn presence; create shorter, visual messages for your Facebook page.
  • Your organization’s blog. Create a new category for workplace flexibility and publish posts that leverage your core story, videos, case studies or visuals you create.
  • Recruiting events. Feature your flexibility strategy as part of your total employer brand to make a big impact when interacting face-to-face with potential candidates.
Whichever options you choose, make it clear that your organization welcomes and supports high performers seeking greater flexibility and work-life satisfaction.

Read the original article from Talent Management here: