Office space

Why treating women like men is a bad idea in the workplace

REUTERS/Toru Hanai

It might seem obvious that women and men are very different, but in the corporate world, those differences are clouded by companies that treat men and women exactly the same. It’s something that businesses have been doing for around 30 years, writes Avivah Wittenburg-Cox, the CEO of a gender consulting firm, in an Op-Ed for The Harvard Business Review. Wittenburg-Cox argues that “being treated the same is, after all, better than being treated worse. But today, those are not our only options.” Managers who treat women and men the same are actually holding women back from occupying more leadership positions. And the “treat everyone the same” policy isn’t good for men either, Wittenburg-Cox contends. A policy abjectly lacking nuance turns a blind eye to the different ways in which men and women view power, communicate with colleagues and approach their careers. Wittenburg-Cox writes that denying the differences between men and women was a necessary phase the American business world had to go through, but stresses that it’s high time for a change and has a four-point plan to bring a more genuinely gender-balanced culture to the American workplace.

Read the full story at The Harvard Business Review.

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