From Olympic competition to the corporate boardroom, diversity remains a highly relevant and emotionally charged topic.
Making waves recently was an NBC broadcaster at the Summer Olympics in Rio, who drew criticism after attributing the world record-breaking success of Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu to her husband. A Huffington Post columnist immediately took umbrage saying, “When women Olympians win medals, they deserve the credit.”
The need to recognize the contributions and personal drive or ambition of women athletes, regardless of who trains or coaches them, echoed a recent incident in the corporate world: Saatchi & Saatchi Executive Chairman Kevin Roberts was placed on a leave of absence after an interview in which he reportedly said he did not think the lack of women in leadership roles “is a problem.” Roberts was quoted as saying women’s “ambition is not a vertical ambition; it’s this intrinsic, circular ambition to be happy.”
As these two sexist examples show, people’s attitudes about diversity remain a persistent problem. This problem underscores the need for effective diversity programs that truly make a difference in attracting and retaining women and minorities, creating opportunities for them to reach the leadership positions they seek.
Read the full article at Fortune.
Evan Apfelbaum is the W. Maurice Young (1961) Career Development Professor and an Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management.