Gender, Equity, and Change

The Center for Gender in Organizations (CGO) takes a unique approach to addressing gender and diversity issues in the workplace. Rather than seeing gender as a problem that individual women and men confront at work, we believe gender is deeply embedded in an organization's culture and practices. It is at this level of analysis that the most significant research is undertaken and from which real change emerges.

Merely increasing the number of women of diverse backgrounds, although important, does not necessarily change the gendered culture of most organizations. This "gendering" effect, where culture and work practices fit stereotypical white, western, heterosexual, middle-class and masculine ideals, has a differential impact on men and women of diverse races, classes, ethnicities and sexual orientations.

Through research and vast field experience, we have come to see that much workplace bias is less a product of overt behaviors and more the result of embedded masculine norms about individual achievement and assumptions about what it takes to succeed.

Dealing with deeply rooted cultural matters requires that organizations have the means to identify the full dimensions of these issues, access relevant information about the nature and extent of cultural barriers, build institutional capacity to diagnose and respond to problems that arise, and design and evaluate solutions to achieve consistent, incremental change that benefits everyone.