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Your company may think it’s making strides toward gender equity. But if you’re pouring money into diversity trainings, you could be hampering those efforts, explains gender-equity researcher Sara Sanford. She identifies the biggest problem behind gender inequality, as well as the organizational measures that best counteract it. This rousing, eye-opening talk explains how intentional design may help solve a seemingly intractable cultural issue.


Gender inequality continues to afflict the workplace, and diversity training doesn’t help.

In September 2018, experts who previously estimated that society would eliminate the gender pay gap by 2059 added another 60 years to their projection. Today, women professionals have scant access to their most experienced leaders and fill disproportionately few executive roles. Further, tech and other booming sectors are seeing women leave at rates 45% higher than their male counterparts. The main reason, these women report, is the culture.

Diversity training isn’t the solution. Collectively, US firms spend $8 billion a year on diversity training, but studies by The Harvard Business Review prove such training to be ineffective or even counterproductive. In fact, a 30-year study of 830 firms showed that white men required to undergo diversity training tend to retaliate by recruiting and advancing the careers of fewer women and minorities.

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About the Speaker

Sara Sanford is founder of gender-equality consultancy Gender Equity Now.

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