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Gender Intelligence

CWB believes that GI is critical to business success.  Without it, unconscious bias, gender stereotyping and unnecessarily low levels of collaboration between men and women combine to hinder organizational effectiveness, talent retention and gender fairness.

Gender Intelligence (GI) is the recognition, understanding and appreciation of the differences between men and women that affect the ways in which they process information and communicate, among other things.  By becoming aware of and comfortable with those differences, men and women can overcome some of the unconscious biases and stereotypying that interfere with effective their ability to collaborate and develop productive working relationships.

Barbara Annis, who popularized the term, and others find that companies with higher levels of GI enjoy a competitive advantage in the marketplace by reason of the improved collaboration, innovation, and strategic thinking among teams of men and women and the greater retention of high performing female workers who feel empowered because they and their contributions are valued.

Dispelling myths

Myth: Women mostly leave companies for work/life balance.

This is not true. A Harvard Business Study found 68% of women leave because they do not feel valued by the company; 65% feel excluded from the group; 64% leave because it is a male dominated environment; 55% feel there is lack of opportunity for advancement.

Myth: Work load is harder for women so they leave for more manageable work.

This is not true. A Harvard Business Study found the “exodus of women” is 82% attributable to a desire to work with people they respect; 80% a desire for the freedom to be “themselves” at work. 64% feel there is a lack of recognition of their strengths. Only 6% reported that the work was too demanding 

The gender intelligence of an organization is not measured by the numbers of women who work there but rather how men and women work together and improve the bottom line.

  • GI is not just an HR issue. All managers and employees need GI.
  • GI is not about being “male dominated” but rather about basic biology and social dynamics that affect how genders can effectively work together, regardless of their numbers.
  • GI helps companies focus on the bottom line by understanding how the dynamics of the genders lead to the business results desired in an organization.

Action steps to begin the process of becoming a more gender intelligent organization:

  • Conduct an organizational assessment of how employees view gender equity: Ask what employees believe and get the real numbers by gender.
  • Ensure that employees see evidence of gender diversity above them in the organization
  • Require diverse slates candidates for hiring, job assignments, training and development opportunities, promotions
  • Include women in committees for assigning work and development opportunities; and for performance evaluations, creating job descriptions/requirements, succession planning, career path options, and promotions
  • Review and revise as needed policies and practices to eliminate biases
  • Engage a consultant or workshop facilitator to help the organization and individuals recognize blind spots
  • Revisit assessments, policies and practices on a regular basis
  • Check metrics by gender regularly to track progress.