The Problem with Diversity Targets in the Workplace

(This article originally appeared in Quartz@Work, 10 March 2020)


This past Sunday, as people around the world celebrated International Women’s Day, they also shone a light on the unfortunate—yet unsurprising—enduring challenges women continue to face in society.

Some of the most disturbing trials were highlighted in the UN’s Gender Social Norms index, a global survey which measures and analyses gender bias in 75 countries, which found that at least 90% of men and women hold some sort of bias against females.

There are three more of the survey’s most wretched findings:

  • Nearly half of all men said they had more right to a job than women.
  • Almost a third of respondents thought it was acceptable for men to hit their female partners.
  • Although some countries have made great progress, no country in the world can yet claim gender equality.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was #EachforEqual, which stresses the need to recognize equality not just as a women’s issue, but as a pertinent matter of business as well. It reflects the growing chorus for gender-equality throughout society—including, of course, in the boardroom and the workplace.

Equal rights = good business

I’ve never considered myself to be a formally proactive champion of women’s rights or for any cause of diversity, believing that my actions and interactions speak for themselves.



March 11, 2020

Bill Rylance
Chairman, WATATAWA