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Moving the Needle: From Invisibility to Inclusion | Stacy Smith, USC Annenberg | Talent Connect 2018

Moving the Needle: From Invisibility to Inclusion | Stacy Smith, USC Annenberg | Talent Connect 2018


– Thanks so much for
being a part of this great first day of Talent Connect. I think the keynotes were amazing and I was especially
inspired by Elaine Welteroth and Lisa Lee, so if you
went to that and you heard that discussion I think today will be especially impactful for you. We’re going to be talking
about moving the needle, the journey from
invisibility to inclusion. And I have the pleasure today
of introducing Stacy Smith. Stacy Smith is a PhD
from UC Santa Barbara. She is the associate professor
at the Annenburg School of Communication and Journalism. She has started her own think tank, the Annenburg Inclusion Initiative around increasing diversity in entertainment. Going through her bio and
thinking about introducing her, some of the things she’s
done are incredibly amazing and I think she’s gonna tell
us a lot about them today, with a lot of focus on the role of women, both in front of and behind the camera. And thinking about issues of diversity, specifically from the
Hollywood perspective. Including analyzing pay
inequities and thinking about the ways that we can begin to address these issues going forward. She’s written a number
of scholarly articles, in everything from the
New York Times to Variety. And she’s a much lotted
professor and has won various awards from all sorts of different organizations at USC. It is my pleasure to introduce
to you Dr. Stacy Smith. (applauding) – Thank you. It is great to be here
and I just wanna start off with a question. How many folks in the room watched the Academy Awards this year? Just by a show of hands. Okay, so a few of you. You know, truth be told,
it wasn’t a very good award ceremony to be perfectly honest. I thought it was kind of boring. Don’t tell the producers, I
know we’re live streaming, but that’s just a reality. And so I had turned down the
volume on the show itself and until one particular
person caught my eye. On screen, this actor received
not only the nomination, but the award for best
actress of the evening and it was Frances McDorman. And if you were watching,
you saw that she stormed the stage and had all of the
folks that were nominated that were females stand up in the room. And there were very few. And she said at the end
of her acceptance speech, ladies and gentlemen, I wanna leave you with two words tonight. And I thought, oh this
is gonna be interesting. The first word was inclusion. And so now I’m really interested. It’s the end of the
night, what is that second word going to be? And that second word was rider. Well the inclusion rider was something I actually came up with
in my office years before and when she said that,
I started screaming at my small viewing party in Beverly Hills and I am sure you could hear
me throughout Los Angeles because I didn’t know
that Frances McDorman even knew about the inclusion rider. And there in lies the moment
that changed my mind, my life. Now, it was actually kind
of a humbling experience because I had given a
Ted Talk and mentioned the inclusion rider and it has been viewed over a million times. So I am certain that
people must not have been listening at that moment
when I talked about it on the Ted stage. I also wrote a Hollywood reported op-ed about the inclusion rider,
which nobody must have read. It took this woman
catapulting that message, the rider I came up with worked on with Fancian Costa Giovanni, Kopanica Toggle, and members of my team. What we didn’t do is we didn’t heed the entrepreneurs and philanthropists. They called me immediately and said, Stacy, you need merch. You need to get on this
because if you don’t other people are going to profit off of what has been developed here and shouted from the Academy Award stage. Now I’m gonna tell you
about the inclusion rider towards the end of my talk
because it’s a solution to any quality facing across industries, but it was designed for
Hollywood in particular. Now what I wanna do today
is show you in storytelling the invisibility that’s
facing different groups and how do we solve it. How do we solve it economically? How do we solve it from
a leadership perspective? And how do we solve it contractually by something like the inclusion rider. So two quick things I wanna
say before I get underway. One, I wanna apologize. I speak really fast, so
it you can’t keep up, different room for you. This is the fast room. (laughing) Secondly, I’m horribly depressing so I hope there’s drinks
at the end of the day because you’re gonna need
it when we’re talking about storytelling and
storytellers in the industry. So let’s get started. If you were interested
in the top 100 grossing films every year, the
Annenburg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern
California has your answer. We conduct probably
what’s been referred to as the gold standard of
research, looking at the top 100 domestic films every
year, fictional films, and we evaluate every
speaking or named character that’s shown on screen. Which is a very low bar. All a character has to do is say one word to be included in our investigation. Why? We wanna compare it to
statistics in North America and in the US in particular to see how the industry is doing. Then we look at every
character for demographics, for domesticity and sexualization to see how much stereotyping
is actually going on in these types of narratives. So the question that we’ve been
working on in 2005 in my lab we’ve worked with about 1,000
undergraduates at this point, is how inclusive is
Hollywood when it comes to hiring practices,
particularly on screen? And the answer to that
question is very simple. It’s not. If you were to look at the top 100 films over the last 11 years, 1,100 movies, 48,757 speaking characters,
females are clocking in at less than a third of all
speaking parts on screen. Less than a third, 2007
is no different than 2017. There has been no change
despite all the activism. No change despite all the press attention. And matter of fact,
these statistics do not meaningfully differ than
what’s been observed on a small sample of
films from 1946 to 1955. There’s been no movement, which is something that
often plagues companies, particularly at the top. For Hollywood, we see a stalemate when it comes to representation on screen for girls and women. Now, when we move to
the leading characters, we see that the picture is just as bad. Out of the 100 films last
year, only 33 featured a female lead or co-lead. A third, yet females are
50% of the population. They buy 50% of the
tickets at the box office. So the economics of it doesn’t make sense. But what’s really
problematic is to your right. Only four of the top 100 films last year featured a woman of color in the lead. Now what’s interesting
about these four films is that they all four feature
a mixed race female lead. All four. And I would argue that
it’s really only three because Demi Lovato played
a Smurf, which was blue so her identity as an actor is mixed race, but not as a character on screen. Now we look at the nature
of roles and we see that there’s a lot of
stereotyping going on in Hollywood and you can see probably
sexualization in society and workforces and organizations
and this is a real problem. We know that objectifying
images can lead to body shame, appearance anxiety, self objectification amongst some female viewers. And we see here that
females are far more likely to be shown in sexually
revealing clothing, partially naked, and
referenced as attractive than their male counterparts. Matter of fact, in
animation, sometimes females are so thin that their circumference of their waist approximates
the circumference of their upper arm,
leaving no room for a womb or any other internal organ. Now one of the things
that’s really important that I wanna underscore
is that when Hollywood says female, when corporations say female, when different groups say female, they typically are talking
about Caucasian women. And so we need to change our language because what we’ve found
in film, just like we often see in organizations,
when you intersect data and you cross gender and
race, you see an epidemic of invisibility appear
on screen for women, from different under represented
racial or ethnic groups. What do I mean by this? Out of 100 films last
year, 43 didn’t feature a single black woman speaking on screen. Not one. In terms of the Asian or
Asian American community, 65 erased females all together, despite the successes
of Crazy Rich Asians. 64 didn’t feature a single
Latina speaking on screen and 94 didn’t feature a woman
from the LGBT community. It’s important that when we use language, we have to think inclusively about groups and we have to be intersectional in nature because these data
suggest when we talk about girls and women in Hollywood,
we’re primarily talking about those that are Caucasian because these numbers are alarming. Now, I often talk to folks in Hollywood and I tell them, there’s
on simple solution to solve all of these problems, one. And this solution also applies
to different organizations that are concerned with this issue. If you wanna solve any of the patterns that I just put up on the
screen or on the slides, all companies have to do is one thing. Hire female directors. It turns out that, and I’m
talking film directors here, not the way many of you
use the term director, it turns out that having
differences in positions of influence, having women
in positions of influence actually changes the nature
of the stories that get told. We have more girls and women on screen. More girls and women at the center. More racial and ethnic diversity. More women 40 years of
age or older on screen, which is good news for someone like me. And women often hire other women. So one of the easiest ways to diversify the talent pool is ensuring that you have diversity in top leadership
positions, as we all know. However, Hollywood
fails miserably at this. Across the last 1,100
films, 1,223 directors, only four percent of film
directors are females. Four percent. Out of that four percent,
only eight women of color are represented across
more than 1,200 directors. Four black women, three Asian women. It’s actually only two because
one Asian woman worked twice, and one Latina, one. So when we talk about an inclusion crisis, we’re talking about a
space, an entire industry that has erased large
groups of individuals that do not reflect the world
in which we actually live. Where 30% of the United States
are Caucasian men and women and 20% are underrepresented
men and women. 30/30, 20/20. We’ve seen nothing like
that in this industry when it comes to the cultural narratives that we’re seeing heard and perceiving coming out of this powerful industry. So let’s talk about why. What presents or prevents women from being in these really top leadership positions? Whether it’s behind the
camera as a film director or in the CEO or C-suite
of a major organization. Well it turns out that there’s a lot of theorizing and research about this issue. Alice Eagly at Northwestern has devoted some of her career
talking about this issue of role congruity theory. And it turns out that leadership
is stored cognitively, often along traits that
are masculine in nature. Things like being assertive,
controlling and tough. These are leadership traits that align very closely with being masculine. These things are
intertwined when we fire off thoughts about what a
leader should look like or what a leader should do. But leadership traits
and femininity are stored far apart cognitively. Things like being
nurturing, kind, and helpful are not the things that
we typically think of when we ideate about
who could be a leader. So women walk a very fine line. If they’re too masculine,
they’re discounted for leadership because
they’re not feminine enough. If they’re to feminine, they’re discounted because they don’t perceive or don’t act like a leader would act in
the minds of men and women. They are in a double bind. So let me illustrate how this
happens in the film industry, but it probably happens in
your organizations as well. This idea that being a
leader and being a female are incongruous cognitively. First, women aren’t projected
into leadership roles because of this bias. First, they’re not considered
and when they are considered, when they are thrust into these positions, they’re often punished more harshly than their male counterparts. So we decided to do a test of this and we talked to several
folks, a couple of dozen folks in the entertainment
industry and we asked them, what are attributes of
successful film directors? We took all of those
attributes and put them into one of three bins. Attributes that are masculine,
attributes that are feminine or attributes that are neutral in nature. And it turns out that the
individuals that we interviewed, couple of dozen folks, said two to one, masculine traits over feminine traits, when they were discussing
attributes of qualified directors. And what we came up with, which is similar to the global phenomenon with managers, when people in the entertainment
industry think director, they think male, so females
aren’t being considered and they can suffer more consequences. And some of the attributes
or characteristics of successful directors were things like, directors have to be
individuals, a general patent. They have to be tough
has nails, aggressive, ambitious, they have to rally the troops. My personal favorite is that they have to be muscular because we all
know that film directors carry so many heavy objects
on set in production. Now let’s see a real
world example of language, reinforcing this idea
that woman as leaders might be a problem. If you look at the Hollywood Reporter, one of the top three films
of 2017 was Wonder Woman. But look at this Hollywood
Reporter headline. Warner Brothers is gambling
$150 million with a filmmaker whose only
prior big screen credit was an eight million dollar indie film. That eight million dollar
film won Charlize Theron an Academy Award. So our language can perpetuate
a view of leadership that is actually quite problematic. Now beyond Hollywood, we see
this played out quite a bit. When women speak out or they
act in a masculine nature in terms of leadership, those attributes, being aggressive or assertive,
we often see examples of them being punished because
of this double standard that’s applied to women
in leadership positions. And I always like to
point out to my students, I can’t think of a better
example than the Dixie Chicks almost losing their
careers for just exercising their first amendment right and privilege. But the way in which we
think about leadership can really affect that
consideration process, which I hope we talk about
in a few minutes in Q and A, and then the experiences
that women have as leaders. So what do we do? These numbers haven’t moved in decades. Nothing seems to make them go
to the right or to the left or budge them in any
ways that is important to seeing change. So we started asking a few years ago, at the Initiative at USC,
what are the solutions to inequality in industries? And I just wanna focus on a couple here, of ways in which we could actually deal with invisibility and
move towards inclusion and more importantly,
belonging which is really the North Star in all
of these conversations. So first off, when it comes
to leadership perceptions, leadership is a particular form of bias. Different biases will
have different solutions. And leadership really pertains to who gets to drive the ship behind the camera and who gets to be in the
center of the story on screen. And these are the big
leadership positions. And what companies and what
Hollywood and different industries really need to think about is the language that’s
used in organizations. The language that’s
used and how we describe leadership and leaders. And we have to make sure we’re changing the leadership language
so that it’s not gendered, but it’s as inclusive as
possible so that no one with access and opportunity
to those particular occupational opportunities,
that no one is left behind because of the language or
the identity that they have. We have to be more
inclusive in how we think about leadership in terms of hiring. How do we do that? A priori, ahead of interviewing,
ahead of consideration, ahead of your annual budget that you will begin in months, ahead of
time you have to develop standardized criteria and
a list of who you want and standardized criteria
for how you’re going to evaluate talent when you find them. And that talent really
needs to be evaluated based on objective and
quantifiable criteria because that Hollywood Reporter article would have never been
written if they had simply looked at Patty Jenkin’s credits prior to being attached to Wonder Woman. It wasn’t only this
Academy Award nomination, but she was a decorated
and lotted director and had worked quite a bit in television and was celebrated in film. And objective and quantifiable data would have led to a very
different conclusion that we saw in the Hollywood Reporter. The other thing that we have
to do is we have to get away from trusting our gut. Everybody likes to trust
their gut and their intuition and while that might be interesting, it might lead you to find
people that look like you. And you might be missing
out on the most amazing talent sitting in front of
you, particularly if they make you feel cognitively
or emotionally uneasy. And that’s where if you
have objective criteria it can hold those feelings
of discomfort in place so that you can really select
the best person for the job, not the person who either looks like you or you feel most comfortable with. So to move perceptions of leadership, we have to move away
from intuition to more standardized metrics in
terms of decision making. Now I also talked about how on screen there’s been very little change for years and most of this change
is driven by small roles in storytelling, the whole ecosystem. And so what we did with
the inclusion rider, just to give you an idea,
is what we wanted to do was short circuit the casting process. Casting directors which
are largely white women are bringing in people quickly to audition for supporting and small roles. And if they see the word police officer, they grab a white male in their roster. If they see firefighter,
they grab another white male. And so many of these numbers don’t change because of heuristic cues
that casting directors are using, short circuit
that deep bench of talent. Women, people of color,
members of the LGBT community, actors by age, actors by disability. So the inclusion rider specifies
much like the Rooney Rule, you have to interview
and consider that deep bench of talent prior to hiring for those supporting and small roles. And if an A-lister puts
this in their contract, they can then be held accountable, the production company,
to ensuring that the world shown on screen looks
like the world we live in. And the inclusion rider,
we have stipulations for it on screen as well
as behind the camera. All the information, all
the mechanics of that rider are simply to ensure that
people that are talented have the access and
opportunity to interview for those jobs that typically
they’ve been looked over for whatever reason. You can find all of the
language of the inclusion rider at the Annenburg Inclusion
Initiative website, as well as Pearl Street
and Cohen Milstein, representatives, Fancian Costa
Giovanni, Kopanica Toggle also have access to the
language if you wanna adapt for your particular industry
or your particular occupation. Now to show you just how
easy, if Hollywood A-listers adopted a inclusion
rider, what could happen. We could see for the first
time in Hollywood history equality in storytelling. If simply the top 100
films, if you added five female speaking characters
to each of the top 100 films, five characters, set a new
norm, repeated that process, in four years, 2020, we could
be at equality on screen. It is literally
mathematically that simple. It doesn’t take jobs away from men. It ensures that the epidemic
of invisibility is eradicated. It’s very inexpensive, right? And we humanize the production process, which is something that needs to happen in Hollywood and the government, if you’re watching what has been going on since the Harvey Weinstein case. Now last and finally,
there’s an economic argument. And the myth in Hollywood
has been that films with male leads or Caucasian
leads make more money than films with female leads or stories with underrepresented leads. The reality is that may
not actually be true because films with male
leads have higher budgets than films with female leads. So is it the budget driving box office, or is it the gender of the lead character? This is where sophisticated
economic analysis actually can challenge the mythologizing around decision making
in the executive suites of many of these film companies. So what we did is and
empirical test that we’re not replicating at the
lab the results will be out in a few months. We actually found, looking
at production, distribution, and exhibition factors of
films that what matters most isn’t who the lead character is. Their gender, if they’re a female or not. But what matters the most is the stories that you put a lot of money behind, you put in a lot of
theaters, and the stories that are received very well by critics. These are what sells. Not the gender of the lead character. Turns out that domestically,
it doesn’t matter whether you have a female lead or not. It doesn’t affect the
profitability or the revenue coming in at the box office. But what our results have actually shown is that when you have a
female lead internationally, you actually make more money. So we’re in the process of
replicating these findings because despite last year,
Wonder Woman, Star Wars, Beauty and the Beast were the top three domestic films in the US. Despite the return on
investment, despite that this is allegedly one of the
most progressive industries, there’s an inclusion
crisis facing this industry that contractually can be changed, changing perceptions of
leadership through storytelling and organizational culture can change. And by challenging the way
in which business is done with more sophisticated economic models that can create change. Thank you so much and I
look forward to the Q and A. (applauding) – Thanks. Thanks so much. I think all of us here who are involved in the talent business,
whether you’re in HR or in recruiting, really feel the pain that you’re describing here. And Stacy and I got a
chance to talk before. I lead talent at LinkedIn,
it’s a high tech company. We obviously are trying
our best to combat this, but there is an institutionalized sense of many of these issues
that you’re talking about in Hollywood, in high tech
and in many other industries. But I think what you’ve done here is shown how data can really help make that case and when you talk about a
casting agent in their role, it’s very similar to many
of us who are recruiters, who are working on getting butts
in seats as soon as we can. And sometimes the pressure is to sacrifice diversity for speed. And I was just wondering on that front, what do you think the best arguments for, or the way to call out to leadership why it’s important to pause. – Well we know that without pausing, you will simply replicate the
environment that you have. We know that that’s where bias thrives. Really important high pressure situations with very little time,
people go to the same folks they always go to to ensure
that the job gets done in the way that it needs to get done. However, it’s not going to work. I mean, the long game
here is what is being left on the table. When half of the population is female, 40% is people of color, 20%
are people with disability, 10% LGBTQ and they’re not
reflected in storytelling, it seems like it ventures
in missing the point. If I wanted to make
money, I would ensure that the stories I told
reflected the demographics of the audience and Suem
slowing down is one way to ensure that your product will resonate and connect with who your consumer or audience base actually is. And this industry really
doesn’t understand that and they haven’t for years. – Yeah, but I mean, what you’re saying, it exactly ties back to what we heard from Elaine Welteroth, former
editor in chief of Teen Vogue about if you wanna change the story you have to change the storyteller, which I think you’re exactly
saying with that role of the director and
the importance of that. And I think one of the
things that she mentioned was about how they wanted to
get to their full audience and what their audience
really wanted and that seems like what your data is showing
about the gross information. I think for many of us in high
tech, or any other company, we’re thinking about our customers. If we wanna get to all our customers, this diverse leadership
makes the difference. – [Stacy] Absolutely. – One subset of audience
I wanna talk to you about is that critics piece. You mentioned that the
critics’ sort of recommendation makes a big difference
in how business does, or how a film does. I was wondering, I don’t
know, how does that play in? How do the gender roles factor in there? – Well I think its really
important to think about critics in the ecosystem of a film. They come in at the tail end
and they tell the audience what they liked or didn’t
like about the film and they give it a score and
that score then translates into people like yourselves
logging on to Rotten Tomatoes and saying do I wanna see or not see. Well, you know, it’s a
real interesting phenomenon when only four films
out of 100 have a woman of color at the center. Only eight out of 1100 films have a woman of color behind the camera. And there’s very few
women of color on screen in smaller roles and
less than four percent of all critics are females of color. You have just created the perfect storm to miss an entire audience
because the critics, the leadership positions
and the storytelling just eviscerate a part of
that segment that you want. So my question is why would you listen to any of the decision makers
because they are clearly not reflecting the needs of
a huge base of the population that could be generating revenue. And the numbers are there
in terms of viewership for television, digital platforms or buying tickets at the movies. So I think that critics,
we really have to say, are they the experts we want? Are the people in the
C-suite, the experts we want making decisions, I don’t think so. And let me tell you why. I’m getting into scary
territory, I’m sure. – You’re among friends. – Among friends and the live stream. We interviewed over 50
thought leaders in Hollywood and we asked them one simple question. Tell us who’s on your consideration list as a female director of a film. These are some of the
top buyers and sellers in the industry. Out of 59 people, the
mode, the number of names of females directors that
could be given to us, the mode was zero. The average was three because one person pulled out a list of 24
names and read them off so it pulled up the
average from zero to three. Now this is a real problem
because if you want people on your executive
ranks really understanding the needs of your consumers and the people that are pushing stories and ensuring that talent has opportunity,
they’re just sidelining 50% or more of available talent. You really have to call into question, who are the experts making decisions because if this is about
return on investment and engagement with your consumers, then I think we need to challenge
who experts actually are. Whether they’re making decisions about a multimillion dollar motion picture or they’re critics of a film or they’re in the executive ranks of a corporation. – Yeah, it’s a great call
and I think it really does make the argument, as
you did, for using data. There’s a place for
intuition and there’s a place for who you feel comfortable,
but if you have data, whether it’s pulling up available people or qualified candidates
and then forcing there to be a representative
list, but it’s really gotta be done because otherwise
I do think people just revert back to what
they’re most comfortable with. – Well and I think our
favorite, why every time we hear someone’s not
being hired or they hire another white male, well
when it comes to women or people of color,
there’s just a small pool. There’s just a small pool. And it’s like they take these folks and they send them to camp
and said we’re gonna tell you all how to answer the exact same way when you don’t want to hire someone that doesn’t look like you. But the question is is
there really a small pool and with our research on directors, that is in fact, not the case. So we need data to
challenge the nomenclature and the language that limits
access and opportunity so that those folks can
be exposed to the truth, that truth will lead to shame
and shame will cause change. I mean it’s a simple causal model. – Perfect. And I mean, this is one of those moments when I feel I must call
out LinkedIn as a place where you know, in any
situation you’re more able to pull up the total addressable market and that talent available. And so things like that
maybe could even help in a place like Hollywood. – Absolutely. I think it’s the perfect
ad mixture to a platform to really understands the
plurality of the workforce and the dynamics. And across different identity groups, how do you partner with an industry that really only has focused
for decades on a narrow fraction of the population? And that’s the synergy I
think, at the initiative and the groups that we’ve worked with, that’s what we wanna actually do and have those unlikely pairings
be the solution for change. – Yeah, definitely. So if you don’t mind, I wanna change gears and ask a couple questions about politics. – Okay. – You know, it’s been a busy
couple weeks in politics and while I ask these
questions, if anyone has any questions in the
audience, we are gonna leave a few minutes at the end for that. But I think Hollywood is
in an interesting position because they’ve been definitely called out on the sexism with Me Too and Times Up. And so then recently,
when that sort of focus turned to Washington, Hollywood
has been very outspoken about the Kavanaugh hearings and has been really a force there. And I wonder if what just
happened in politics, if you feel like that will
actually help Hollywood move the numbers, as you’ve said. Do you think that will actually
allow for more inclusion in front of and behind
the camera as they sort of watch Washington and wanna
move further from it? – You know, it’s been an interesting time. The last year, since Harvey
Weinstein and that whole situation broke, which
was just about a year ago. And we’ve seen so many
different men come under fire. I think the formation
of Times Up is something we have never seen before in the industry. And the reason why it’s
so pronounced to me is women from all
backgrounds are linking arms and taking control in ways that before they were often siloed. Actors wouldn’t talk
to other female actors because there was only one major part. Exactly. And I think some of the
research is interesting to think about where you
have a real saturation of male dominated employees
or a male dominated culture, it presents more risk for many of these very serious and problematic behaviors, whether it’s microaggression,
whether it’s pay inequality, whether it’s sexual
harassment or sexual assault. And so I think we’re seeing something that is truly extraordinary
that will leave a historical legacy, not
only on entertainment, but other industries as well. And I can’t tell you
how important this is. One thing I didn’t present
with our data is that the real problem with women on screen is there are no roles
really for women over 40. And this is problematic
because no one is being socialized to what
powerful women look like in leadership because most of
those parts go to male actors. And so to counter or
to show experiences of how to navigate the experiences
of women in Washington, you would think that we
would have lots of stories about what we just saw. But the fact is that’s not true. We did a study out of 129 films, I believe it was 5,839
speaking characters, but fact check me if you
have time or insomnia. We found across all of
those films, there were only three political figures that were women that were high level politicians. One played Ongala Murkle,
so that doesn’t really count because it’s out of the US. And the other two high level politicians simply were referred to by name,
they never spoke on screen. So what we’re seeing right now, we haven’t even socialized
through storytelling what powerful female
politicians look like and do. And yes, the last
election and yes, the last presidential couple played a big role in moving us in a
direction to understanding that you know, the
folks in the White House can look very different than just a very narrow classification. But there’s so much
more that has to be done and so many myths that
still have to be challenged about harassment and
assault in male dominated and non-male dominated arenas. – Great, thank you. I wanna just open it up, if anyone has any questions out in the audience. Does anyone have anything
they wanna ask Dr. Smith? – [Man] I have a question. – Okay, you wanna step up to the mic here, if you don’t mind. – [Man] One question I
have is with my current company being software,
we’re doing a lot of work trying to improve women in tech. One thing we’re using
is we’re looking at how we write our job descriptions,
so there’s a thing out there called gender decoder, which basically tries to
make a job description more applicable to a wider audience. The problem is for very senior roles, you could argue it takes
out a lot of the core personality traits, as you said, which are considered masculine. But that doesn’t actually adhere itself to what the company necessarily wants and that they want a
challenger and a leader regardless of gender or
what we would consider masculine or feminine. What can you see on the market right now which could help us in terms of becoming more applicable to a wider audience, but not compromising
what ultimately the role needs to be successful? – I’m not sure about,
and I don’t know if you maybe wanna answer this in terms of what’s available in the market,
but I’ll tell you two things to be careful of. We know that when,
there’s a lot of research on what’s called social dominance theory. And social dominance orientation is really a personality characteristics. People are high and low
on the degree to which they exclude groups. And interestingly enough,
people in positions of power oftentimes are high in social dominance, which means they defer
to the white male culture because that’s where
power is typically held. The challenge here is how do
you write a job description to ensure that you’re
attracting people that are low in social dominance
orientation, which means they value diversity,
inclusion, and belonging. So you have two things. Not only externally how you communicate, but ensuring that your talent pool, you’re not replicating the same mindset that might exist at the organization. The second challenge
is people that are low in social dominance orientation may not be attracted to your organization. So you need to do testing to figure out, how are people reading
that job description, how are people assessing the environment, whether it’s people in the senior ranks, the actual physical
structure because we know also from research that
that affects peoples’ perceptions of belonging. For instance in computer science, a lot of women, the
stereotypical ways in which tech companies are
presented are two things that decrease desire and interest and even participating
in computer science. So I think we have to
think a little bit more outside of the box and
outside of traditional just language and make
sure who we’re recruiting have the traits and characteristics to build a workforce that looks different than maybe the one they’re
actually applying for or what actually exists. But if you reach out,
I’m happy to send you that literature to take a look because I think it
might cause you to think a little bit differently
about how to write those ads. – Great, thank you. And that does bring us to
the end of this discussion. I wanna thank you again. This has been a really
insightful discussion and I know that the audience is really, has something to take
home and think about. So thanks a lot for having.
– Thank you. (applauding)

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