Improve, then use, name-blind recruitment to boost Senate staff diversity: committee – The Hill Times

Ironically, the Senate staffer numbers are not too bad — out of 354 employees, there were 54 people who identify as visible minorities (15.3 per cent, about the same percentage who are also Canadian citizens), 20 people with disabilities (5.6 per cent), 12 Aboriginal people (3.4 per cent), and 209 women (59 per cent) as of March 31, 2016. However, the point on under-representation of Indigenous staff at more senior levels is of note:

A name-blind recruitment project could help improve Senate staff diversity, but only if done properly, according to the head of a Senate group studying employment equity in the Upper Chamber’s administration.

In a report tabled June 21 with the Senate’s Internal Economy, Budgets, and Administration Committee—a powerful group of Senators that handles the Chamber’s legal and financial matters—its Subcommittee on Diversity said the administration should “consider implementing a name-blind recruitment pilot project and evaluate whether name-blind recruitment could be expanded for hiring by the Senate administration and potentially by individual Senators’ offices.”

The recommendation was one of 10 made by the subcommittee chaired by Liberal Senator Mobina Jaffer (British Columbia) following a study of a 2016 report on diversity among the 354 members of the Senate administrative staff—authored by high-ranking officials in the Senate bureaucracy—and diversity in the Senate workforce more generally, including in Senators’ offices.

The subcommittee—which also includes Conservative Senator Elizabeth Marshall (Newfoundland and Labrador) and Independent Senator Raymonde Saint-Germain (De la Vallière, Que.)—was struck in late 2016and began its study the following spring, holding five meetings between March 1, 2017 and May 8, 2018.

But there should be major improvements to the name-blind recruitment project tried out in the federal public service before it gets used in the Senate, said Sen. Jaffer, who told The Hill Times she first wants Senate staff to study where the public service pilot project went wrong.

Run between April and October 2017, the goal of the name-blind recruitment pilot run by the Public Service Commission and Treasury Board Secretariat was to “determine whether concealing personal information…which could lead to the identification of a candidate’s origin from job applications, had an impact on the screening decisions made by reviewers when compared to the traditional assessment method where all personal information was presented.” The idea was to see if a hiring manager is biased by the name they see on the resume, or other such personal information about the potential new recruit.

The analysis, limited to those who self-declared as visible minorities, ultimately concluded that there was “no net benefit or disadvantage with the NBR assessment method for visible minorities,” though there were some problems identified with the method itself.

During a March 20 appearance by Treasury Board President Scott Brison (Kings-Hants, N.S.) at the Senate’s Question Period, Independent Senator Ratna Omidvar (Ontario) raised the methodology issues with him.

“First, the hiring managers who were recruited for this project volunteered. I would suggest that creates a certain lack of purity, if I can use that word. The second is that the hiring managers made their decisions knowing that their decisions and the comparative results would be subject to review,” she said.

Mr. Brison acknowledged there were problems with the pilot project’s method, and said he has told Treasury Board, a central agency that acts as the employer of the public service, that he wants “to actually continue to apply the name-blind hiring pilot and to potentially apply it in departments or agencies wherein there is less diversity, to apply it in certain departments and agencies and in regions, to actually continue to work to this.”

Of the results themselves, Mr. Brison said: “The good news is that the pilot came back and said that they did not find, necessarily, a bias or discriminatory hiring practices within the government of Canada.”

Sen. Jaffer said Mr. Brison’s response was disappointing.

“So to say there is no bias, he was happy to see there is no bias, that’s stretching it. There is,” she said, pointing to her years as chair of the Senate’s Human Rights Committee where she used to hear about people not wanting to voluntarily self-identify as belonging to a minority or marginalized group because they didn’t want to be seen as different.

“I am concerned that the public service has not done a good job [with the project], and I’m hoping that the Senate will show the way.”

Setting the tone and setting the example is a key tenet for Sen. Jaffer in her work to improve diversity in the Senate, after experiences in the halls of Parliament that she describes as “soul destroying.”

Sen. Jaffer is the first South Asian woman to be appointed to the Senate and, among other incidents, said she has been stopped from using entrances to Parliamentary Precinct buildings, even while wearing her Senate pin showing that she is a Senator.

And if these things can happen to her, as a Senator, she said it worries her what those lower in the pecking order experience.

“If it happens to me, what is happening to people who work here? I represent them too. If I don’t speak up, then I let them down, too, [and] they have much more to lose.”

Despite it not being in her nature to rock the boat, she said it’s important that she speak out and do things to make changes, drawing on experiences dating back to being the first South Asian woman to practise law in Canada.

“It’s not because I think that’s my role in life. I don’t go looking for it, because I don’t have time for it. It destroys you, it kills a part of me every time,” she said. “Anyone working in the Senate or in the House who feels that they have not been treated fairly, they should know they’re no longer alone. There are services, there are structures that can help and they shouldn’t suffer in silence.”

Senate needs to reflect Canada, says Sen. Jaffer

Sen. Jaffer said the Senate administration has been putting in a genuine effort to improve the diversity of its staff over the years.

Back in 2005, then-Conservative Senator Donald Oliver called the Senate out for “glaring” and  “problematic” systemic racism after a report foundthat there had been no visible minorities appointed to senior and middle management positions between 2000 and 2004 and that visible minorities made up only 6.8 per cent of the Senate’s 425 employees.

Throughout years of upheaval and change in the Senate, it’s remained an administrative priority to act on recommendations Senators have made in response to subsequent diversity reports, Sen. Jaffer said.

In 2014, the Senate’s Internal Economy Committee adopted a two-year Diversity and Accessibility Action Plan for the administration to act on, which included measures to ensure that representation of designated group members was monitored, along with the Senate’s “employment systems to identify systemic barriers and eliminate adverse impacts on the designated groups.”

According to the fifth report of the Senate’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Accessibility, as of March 31, 2016, among the Senate’s 354 employees (which doesn’t include staff in Senators’ individual offices) there were 54 people who identify as visible minorities (15.3 per cent), 20 people with disabilities (5.6 per cent), 12 Aboriginal people (3.4 per cent), and 209 women (59 per cent).

“We had the auditors here, we had huge changeover, we had independent Senators—those all cause issues for the staff, the administration. Even then they were loyal in implementing, so I have lots of gratitude for that,” she said.

In the House of Commons, as of June 2017, 48 per cent of the House administration’s 2,234 employees were women, two per cent were Aboriginal persons, 10 per cent were visible minorities, and four per cent were people with disabilities.

The most recent report on employment equity in the core public service, covering the 2016-17 fiscal year, said that of the 181,674 employees tallied in March 2016, 54.4 per cent were women (compared to an estimated workforce availability of 52.5 per cent), 5.2 per cent were Aboriginal persons (against an estimated workforce availability of 3.4 per cent), 5.6 per cent were people with disabilities (compared to 4.4 per cent workforce availability), and 14.5 per cent were visible minorities (compared to 13 per cent).

But more work needs to be done, especially in encouraging and emphasizing the hiring of Aboriginal Canadians and veterans, the Senate subcommittee said.

It recommended that the Senate create an Aboriginal Young Interns program, expand its efforts to recruit staff from outside of the National Capital Region, and explore ways to target veterans in its recruitment efforts.

As of March 31, 2016, there were no Aboriginal people in the Senate’s manager occupational category and their representation in the professionals occupational category was below their national workforce availability.

The Senate, and all of the country’s institutions, need to reflect Canada, Sen. Jaffer said, or risk becoming irrelevant, and hitting the benchmark of workforce availability—the estimated availability in designated groups as a percentage of the entire workforce population—is not good enough.

“We’ve got to have people from different groups in management,” she said. “And until people get into management, we will not arrive at a proper goal because it’s the management that makes the decisions for hiring; it’s the management that sets the tone.”

The Senate administration has until June 13, 2019 to report back to the Senate Internal Economy Committee on steps it has taken to put in place the subcommittee’s recommendations.

via Improve, then use, name-blind recruitment to boost Senate staff diversity: committee – The Hill Times

Why Brands Must Get Cross-Cultural Marketing Right

Always relevant to appreciate marketing strategies and approaches:

In the last few years, top brands like Pepsi, H&M and Dove have faced backlash for their tone-deaf advertisements that offended multicultural communities across the world. With many racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States growing faster than whites, brands must be cognizant of the messages targeting various demographics. Recognizing that “multiculturalism” is here to stay, brands should think of cross-cultural marketing not as an option but as a must.

Brands that wish to survive and thrive for years to come should consider cross-cultural marketing as fundamental to a successful marketing campaign. Brands like H&M and Pepsi that don’t fully understand cross-cultural marketing can face backlash. The truth lies in the numbers: the combined buying power of Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians is in the trillions.

According to Nielsen, 21 of the 25 most populated counties in the United States are already majority multicultural, meaning that they include “numerically significant pluralities of traditionally minority populations, or are already majority-minority.”

So how do brands tap into this spending power and reach multicultural communities?

Brands need to shift their focus from multicultural marketing to cross-cultural marketing. We define cross-cultural marketing as “the ability for one brand to cross over from one culture to another.” Essentially, brands are moving away from traditional, siloed multicultural marketing to “marketing that simulates across ethnic groups, leveraging ethnic insights to reach across multiple ethnic markets, including the general market.”

Here are two brands that got cross cultural marketing right:

Fenty Beauty

Rihanna is a cross-cultural icon. The Barbadian pop star embraces her Caribbean roots while successfully crossing over and embracing American culture. With the release of her “Beauty for All” collection, Rihanna offered products for every skin tone with a range of 40 foundation shades, even including a shade for people with albinism.

The release of the brand was well received by consumers who previously felt ignored by major beauty brands. The marketing for the launch included a variety of models of every ethnicity. Fenty Beauty embraced the differences of various ethnicities but recognized that all women want quality beauty products. It avoided siloed multicultural marketing and created an inclusive beauty line that considered beauty preferences across cultures.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola’s “Share A Coke” campaign was one of the most successful campaigns of the decade. The campaign has made its way to over 70 countries, and its bottles are still on shelves today. The “Share A Coke” campaign enticed customers to search for their names on bottles and share on social media.

Coke made sure the campaign was inclusive, including names that ranged from Jose to Laura to Maya. And if someone’s name could not be found in stores, customers could personalize their own bottle online. Instead of doing siloed multicultural campaigns, Coke was able to target myriad cultures with one campaign.

What other brands have successfully utilized cross-cultural marketing? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments.

via Why Brands Must Get Cross-Cultural Marketing Right 06/06/2018

Canadian military falling well short of its target for recruiting women

Endemic problem but recruitment and culture change takes time and premature to evaluate success or failure with the new plan. Need to wait 3-5 years before assessing properly:

The Canadian military has barely moved the needle on its ambitious plan to recruit more women, just over a year after the Liberal government introduced its gender-focused defence policy, new figures reveal.

The stated intention of Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance was to have women make up 25 per cent of the Armed Forces by 2025-26.

Statistics released by the Office of the Chief of Military Personnel show that while the number of female recruits coming through the door has increased slightly, it has not been enough to boost overall representation.

As of the end of April, women made up only 15.4 per cent of both the combined regular and reserve forces.

The story is the same for Indigenous Canadians and visible minorities — those recruitment numbers remain just as anemic as they have been for several years.

Indigenous Canadians make up about 2.8 per cent of the Armed Forces; DND has set a goal of getting that share up to 3.5 per cent. Visible minorities make up 8.2 per cent; the target percentage is 11.8.

But the military and the Liberal government have more political capital invested in the effort to get more women into uniform. It’s central to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mantra of gender equality. and to Canada’s desire to put women at the heart of a reformed international peacekeeping system.

The drive to recruit more women comes as the military attempts to overhaul its culture in the wake of a damning report in 2015 by retired supreme court justice Marie Deschamps, who said a “sexualized culture” within the military was behind an endemic problem with sexual harassment and misconduct.

Female recruitment picking up — but slowly

There were 860 women enrolled in the military in the last fiscal year, which ended on March 31 — an increase of eight per cent over the previous year.

It’s not enough, said the chief of military personnel.

“Those are still not meeting the number we need to have in order to meet the 25 per cent target and we’re conscious of that,” Lt.-Gen. Chuck Lamarre told CBC News in an interview.

The slow pace of female recruitment has forced senior brass to take more direct control, he added.

“We recognize it’s going to take a much more disciplined approach, a much more targeted approach to go get more women, more visible minority and more Aboriginal folks to come join the Canadian Armed Forces,” said Lamarre, who insisted the Armed Forces can still hit the target, which was first established in early 2016.

Military looks at foreign recruits to boost ranks

The direction from Vance back then had been to increase the representation of women in the forces by one per cent per year over a decade. The new statistics show the military has seen healthy increases in the number of women applying to be officers, or to join the navy or air force.

But National Defence is having a harder time convincing women to join the army, and to become non-commissioned members of the rank and file.

Lamarre said he believes the military is fighting against perceptions about the kind of career being offered.

“People have a tendency to self-select out before they give it a shot, and I think that’s a mistake,” he said, pointing to the military’s struggle to get women to consider signing up for trades such as aircraft, vehicle and maritime mechanics.

“We are attracting more women into the officer corps, but I think we need to broaden that even more. Part of it is demystifying some of those occupations. Some of them look to be hard and exclusively centred towards men. That’s not the case at all. We have some great examples of women who are operating in every occupation.”

Military’s image problem persists

Others — DesChamps among them — argue that the perception of the military as a tough place to be a woman hasn’t gone away.

Despite the military’s high-profile campaign to stamp out misconduct — known as Operation Honour — and the increasing number of sexual assault cases being tried in the military justice system, many say that little has changed when it comes to the macho nature of military culture.

“In the last three years, in my opinion, more could have been done” to stop harassment and make the military a more welcoming career choice for women, Deschamps told the Senate defence committee last week.

“What I have seen is, not a lot of progress has been made.”

The federal government has faced two class-action lawsuits launched by survivors of sexual assault and misconduct in the military.

The cases entered settlement discussions last winter after it was revealed government lawyers filed a statement of defence that said National Defence “does not owe members of the Canadian Armed Forces any duty to protect them from sexual harassment and assault.”

via Canadian military falling well short of its target for recruiting women | CBC News

Bagnall: Is Shopify’s board of directors too male, too white?

Good for Meriel Bradford, who I worked with in the 90s, for calling them out:

It wasn’t the question most of Shopify’s board of directors had been expecting.

The six individuals — all white, five of them male — had just concluded the business portion of the annual shareholders’ meeting Wednesday morning and had opened the proceedings to queries from ordinary shareholders.

Given what a spectacular year Shopify had just concluded — revenue in 2017 had jumped 73 per cent, pushing the share price to record levels — the directors, the stewards of the company, were anticipating a gentle time of it.

Meriel Bradford, a shareholder and retiree, was the first to grasp the microphone. She had warned Shopify’s CEO and co-founder Tobias Lütke privately what was coming, but didn’t know if he had shared this with his fellow directors.

Bradford, a former vice-president of Teleglobe and senior bureaucrat at Global Affairs and other federal departments, spoke with authority. She told the directors diversity was important for any company aspiring to be global.

“This board doesn’t have it,” she said.

Bradford had their attention. “What’s the problem and how can we help you fix it?”

Responsibility for the answer fell to John Phillips, head of the board committee responsible for finding candidates to serve as director. Phillips acknowledged the preponderance of white males on Shopify’s board before adding, “We’re constantly searching for great talent.”

It was a weak response. Bradford pressed the point. “I suggest your search technique is poor,” she said before taking her seat.

It’s difficult to deny the boardrooms of many high-tech firms lack diversity, whether it involves gender, colour or sexual orientation. But was Bradford’s assertion fair?

This newspaper examined the makeup of the boards that guide 15 companies that Shopify considers its peers, at least when it comes to the important matter of compensation for executives and directors. (These included firms such as HubSpot, Zendesk, Cornerstone OnDemand, Atlassian and Etsy, which were listed in the circular distributed in advance of Wednesday’s meeting of shareholders.)

Most of the peer firms have eight or nine directors, more than Shopify’s six, and do exhibit more diversity, especially when it comes to gender. Half of Zendesk’s eight directors are women, for instance, as is the case at Etsy.

Given that high-tech firms tend to draw heavily from the male-dominated worlds of engineering and finance for their board talent, this is all the more notable.

Just two of Atlassian’s nine board members are women but one, Shona Brown, runs the show as chair.

As for colour, well, let’s just say visible minorities in this group are generally the exception. Nevertheless, the companies do appear to be making some strides diversifying in general.

For instance, Cornerstone OnDemand, a California software firm, has nominated former Jiva Software CEO Elisa Steele to serve as chair of the board. Steele is expected to be confirmed in this role June 14.

Boston-based Wayfair, another software firm that Shopify counts among its peers, last month named Andrea Jung to its board. Jung, the former CEO of Avon Products, is a well-known pioneer for businesswomen and also serves on the board of Apple.

Five weeks ago, another Boston-based software peer, HubSpot, revealed that India-born, Brazilian-raised entrepreneur Avanish Sahai had joined the firm’s directors.

At the conclusion of Shopify’s shareholders’ meeting at the firm’s Elgin Street headquarters, Bradford chatted amiably with fellow shareholders. A couple of Shopify employees came by to introduce themselves, but none from management or the board. “It surprises me that no one is reaching out,” she said referring to the top guns.

It’s perhaps less puzzling if you examine the detail of the management circular distributed in advance of the meeting.  In it, there’s a section that deals with the company’s policy on diversity. It notes the board of directors “values diversity of abilities, experience, perspective, education, gender, background, race and national origin.”  When considering nominees for the board, the policy reads, “diversity is taken into consideration. Currently, one of our six directors (Gail Goodman) is a woman.”

Bradford’s point was simply that Shopify can do better than that.

Source: Bagnall: Is Shopify’s board of directors too male, too white?

Google Is Trying Too Hard (or Not Hard Enough) to Diversify – The New York Times

Interesting internal debates and struggles within Google (and likely not unique to Google):

In 2014, Google became one of the first technology companies to release a race and gender breakdown of its work force. It revealed — to no one’s surprise — that its staff was largely white or Asian and decidedly male.

The company explained that it disclosed the figures, in part, because it wanted to be held accountable publicly for not looking “the way we wanted to.

Since then, Google has made modest progress in its plan to create a more diverse work force, with the percentage of women at the company ticking up a bit. But a spate of recent incidents and lawsuits highlight the challenges the company has faced as it has been dragged into a national discussion regarding politics, race and gender in the workplace.

Google is being sued by former employees for going too far with its diversity effort. It is also being sued for not going far enough.

“My impression is that Google is not sure what to do,” said Michelle Miller, a co-executive director at Coworker.org, a workers’ rights organization that has been working with some Google employees. “It prevents the ability of a company to function when one group of workers is obstinately focused on defeating their co-workers with whatever it takes.”

The division within Google spilled into the open last year when James Damore, a software engineer, wrote a memo critical of its diversity programs. He argued that biological differences and not a lack of opportunity explained the shortage of women in leadership and technical positions.

Google fired Mr. Damore. He filed a lawsuit in January with another former employee, claiming that the company discriminates against white men with conservative views. In a separate lawsuit, a former recruiter for YouTube sued Google because, he said, he was fired for resisting a mandate to hire only diverse — female or black and Latino — candidates.

Google’s handling of the issue was also upsetting to Mr. Damore’s critics. In another lawsuit filed last month, a former Google employee said he was fired because he was too outspoken in advocating diversity and for spending too much time on “social activism.”

Inside Google, vocal diversity proponents say they are the targets of a small group of employees who are sympathetic to Mr. Damore. In some cases, screenshots of comments made on an internal social network were leaked to online forums frequented by right-wing groups, which searched for and published personal information like home addresses and phone numbers of the Google employees, they said.

In 2015, Google started an internal program called Respect@, which includes a way for employees to anonymously report complaints of inappropriate behavior by co-workers. Some diversity supporters say other employees are taking advantage of this program to accuse them of harassment for out-of-context statements.

“Some people feel threatened by movements that promote diversity and inclusion. They think it means people are going to come for their jobs,” said Liz Fong-Jones, a Google engineer who is a vocal supporter of diversity.

Many big tech companies are struggling with the challenge of creating a more diverse work force. In 2015, Facebook adopted the so-called Rooney Rule. Originally used by the National Football League to prod teams to consider coaching prospects who are black, the rule requires managers to interview candidates from underrepresented backgrounds for open positions. But last year, Facebook’s female engineers said that gender bias was still a problem and that their work received more scrutiny than men’s work.

Even executives tasked with promoting diversity have had difficulties. In October, Denise Young Smith, who was Apple’s vice president of inclusion and diversity, came under fire when she said that there was diversity even among 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men because they had different backgrounds and experiences. She later apologized, saying she did not intend to play down the importance of a non-homogenous work force. She left Apple in December.

The tension is elevated at Google, at least in part, by its workplace culture. Google has encouraged employees to express themselves and challenge one another. It provides many communication systems for people to discuss work and nonwork related issues. Even topics considered out of bounds at other workplaces — like sharp criticism of its own products — are discussed openly and celebrated.

In January, on one of Google’s 90,000 “groups” — internal email lists around a discussion topic — an employee urged colleagues to donate money to help pay Mr. Damore’s legal fees from his lawsuit against Google to promote “viewpoint diversity,” according to a person who saw the posting but is not permitted to share the information publicly.

Last month, Tim Chevalier, who had worked at Google as an engineer until November, sued for wrongful termination, claiming that he was fired “because of his political statements in opposition to the discrimination, harassment and white supremacy he saw being expressed on Google’s internal messaging systems.” He said one employee had suggested that there was a shortage of black and Latino employees at Google because they were “not as good.”

Mr. Chevalier said he had been fired shortly after saying that Republicans were “welcome to leave” if they did not feel comfortable with Google’s policies. He said he had meant that being a Republican did not exempt Google employees from following the company’s code of conduct.

A Google spokeswoman said in a statement that the company encouraged lively debate. But there are limits.

“Creating a more diverse workplace is a big challenge and a priority we’ve been working to address. Some people won’t agree with our approach, and they’re free to express their disagreement,” said the spokeswoman, Gina Scigliano. “But some conduct and discussion in the workplace crosses a line, and we don’t tolerate it. We enforce strong policies, and work with affected employees, to ensure everyone can do their work free of harassment, discrimination and bullying.”

In the past, discussions about diversity in Google’s online chat groups would encounter skeptical but subtle comments or questions. The debate turned openly antagonistic after Mr. Damore’s memo, which was titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.”

“The James Damore thing brought everything to a head,” said Vicki Holland, a linguist who has worked at Google for seven years. “It brought everything to the surface where everyone could see it.”

Mr. Damore said he began to question Google’s diversity policies at a weekly company meeting last March. At the meeting, Ruth Porat, the chief financial officer of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and Eileen Naughton, Google’s vice president of people operations, “pointed out and shamed” departments in which women accounted for less than half the staff, according to Mr. Damore’s lawsuit.

The two female executives — who are among the company’s highest-ranking women — said Google’s “racial and gender preferences were not up for debate,” according to the lawsuit. Mr. Damore subsequently attended a “Diversity and Inclusion Summit,” where it reinforced his view that Google was “elevating political correctness over merit” with its diversity measures.

Mr. Damore said he had written his memo afterward in response.

Ms. Scigliano, the Google spokeswoman, said the company looked forward to fighting Mr. Damore’s lawsuit in court. Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, said in an August blog post that he had fired Mr. Damore because his memo advanced “harmful gender stereotypes” but that “much of the memo is fair to debate.”

Some employees said they were abstaining from internal debate on sensitive issues because they worried that their comments might be misconstrued or used against them. Like the broader internet, the conversations tend to be dominated by the loudest voices, they said.

Google’s diversity advocates said they would like to see more moderation on internal forums with officials stepping in to defuse tensions before conversations get out of hand. Ms. Miller, the Coworker.org co-director, said Google employees had expressed concern about how this would affect an internal culture rooted in transparency and free expression.

“What’s on everyone’s mind is: Has the culture been inextricably damaged by this environment?” she said.

via Google Is Trying Too Hard (or Not Hard Enough) to Diversify – The New York Times

Women Of Color Are Severely Underrepresented In Newsrooms, Study Says

Long overdue for a comparable study in Canada:

People of color make nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population, and women make up more than half. But you couldn’t guess that by looking at American journalists, according to a new report by the Women’s Media Center.

Women of color represent just 7.95 percent of U.S. print newsroom staff, 6.2 percent of local radio staff and 12.6 percent of local TV news staff, according to this year’s Status of Women in the U.S. Media study, the organization’s annual audit of diverse media voices.

“Women are just 32 percent of newsrooms, but the percentage of women of color is even more dire,” Cristal Williams Chancellor, director of communications at the Women’s Media Center, told NPR. “We wanted this year’s report to take a closer look at that segment.”

The report analyzed news organizations’ responses to “professional association queries” and included dozens of interviews with female journalists of color who shared their obstacles and triumphs.

Along with American newsrooms’ low representations of female journalists of color, the report also found that compared with in previous years, newspapers’ count of minority female employees stagnated or fell and radio hired fewer minority women.

Williams Chancellor said these findings weren’t shocking, given the enormous challenges that women of color continue to face in American newsrooms. Especially troublesome, she said, are the media’s methods of recruiting, hiring and promotion. “Part of the challenges come from the plagues that have been part of society for decades, such as racism and sexism, and the old boy’s network,” she told NPR.

Amanda Terkel, Washington bureau chief at the Huffington Post, discussed the nuances of landing a prestigious job in journalism. “So much of hiring in journalism is poaching from other news outlets, which is often a great way to get talent. But when you do that, you’re often dipping from the same pool of people rather than bringing in new voices,” she said in the report.

The Women’s Media Center recommends that media organizations conduct an audit of their employees, decision-makers and candidates for promotion and that they “staff with intention.” The organization also recommended that outlets diversify their news sources.

NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson was featured in the report and recalled the difficulties she faced as a woman of color during the beginning of her 30-year career as an international reporter. ” ‘We want to hire this woman with this foreign-sounding name? How will that work?’ ” she remembers hearing. “Even sources seemed hesitant to call me back, at times. Could they pronounce my name? ‘Are you Asian, Middle Eastern? What exactly?’ ”

NPR’s 377-person news staff is 75.1 percent white, 8.8 percent black, 7.7 percent Asian, 6.1 percent Latino, 2.1 percent multiracial and 0.3 percent American Indian, according to the company’s latest report on the racial, ethnic and gender diversity of its newsroom. NPR Ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen called the numbers a “disappointing showing.” The newsroom is 56.2 percent female — the highest number in five years.

Last year’s Status of Women in the U.S. Media noted that “white men were 71 percent of NPR’s regular commentators in 2015. By comparison, in 2003, the rate was 60 percent.” NPR uses the term commentator for its opinion contributors.

The Women’s Media Center hopes that reporting on stagnating hires of female journalists of color will serve as a “wake-up call” to the media and its consumers. Featuring “diverse voices means that we have a more credible media, and a more democratic society,” said Williams Chancellor. “We need a media that’s more representative and inclusive, and looks like America.”

New ’pay transparency’ bill from Ontario government aims to close gender wage gap

Always good to have more and better data. However, hard to understand the need in the Ontario public service given salary scales already in place and wonder whether existing mechanisms like the Census are being used and analyzed as effectively as possible to identify more precisely the gaps before adding yet another reporting requirement:

Ontario plans to introduce legislation Tuesday that aims to close the wage gap between women and men in the province.

If passed, the “pay transparency” bill would require all publicly advertised job postings to include a salary rate or range, bar employers from asking about past compensation and prohibit reprisal against employees who do discuss or disclose compensation.

It would also create a framework that would require large employers to track and report compensation gaps based on gender and other diversity characteristics, and disclose the information to the province.

The pay transparency measures will begin with the Ontario public service before applying to employers with more than 500 employees. It will later extend to those with more than 250 workers.

The government says it will spend up to $50 million over the next three years on the initiative.

Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne is expected to announce the legislation — called Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment — during a Women’s Empowerment Summit at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

“We know that too many women still face systemic barriers to economic advancement,” Wynne said in a statement. “It’s time for change.”

According to the province, the gender wage gap has remained stagnant over the past 10 years, with women earning approximately 30 per cent less than men.

The government said it looked to other jurisdictions to create the basis of its legislation, including existing laws in Germany, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Wynne has made the themes of fairness and opportunity key planks of her bid for re-election this spring, pitching policies like the province’s increase to minimum wage and expansion of drug coverage for people aged 25 and under as part of those efforts.

UBC study finds more diversity needed in medical school textbooks

Good analysis. In high school, a group of us analyzed images in science texts where the photos were almost uniformly white men (I suspect today’s texts are better):

UBC researchers studying how race and skin tone are depicted in medical textbooks have found a startling lack of diversity.

And, their new study argues, that could be contributing to racial bias in treatment.

The study by UBC and the University of Toronto, published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, found dark skin tones are underrepresented in a number of chapters , including those dealing with skin cancer.

UBC lead author Patricia Louie, who is now a PhD student in sociology at U of T, says the lack of diversity in medical textbooks is a serious problem.

“Proportional to the population, race is represented fairly accurately, but this diversity is undermined by the fact that the images mostly depict light skin tones,” she said.

For the study, researchers analyzed the race and skin tone of more than 4,000 human images in four medical textbooks: Atlas of Human Anatomy, Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination & History Taking, Clinically Oriented Anatomy and Gray’s Anatomy for Students.

In an interview from Toronto, Louie said they used the textbooks from the 2015 and 2016 reading list for medical students at North American universities. But the textbooks are also widely used around the world.

The study found that only one per cent of the photos in Atlas and Clinically featured dark skin, compared to about eight per cent in Bates’ Guide and about five per cent in Gray’s Anatomy.

More than 70 per cent of the individuals depicted in Clinically and 88 per cent in Gray’s had light skin tones, while Atlas featured almost no skin tone diversity.

“It seems that skin tone isn’t something they are paying attention to. The books include racial diversity but not skin tone diversity, and skin tone is important because it is central to how race is perceived,” said Louie.

Patricia Louie is the lead author of a new study done by researchers at UBC and the University of Toronto that found a startling lack of diversity in skin tone in medical textbooks used by universities.  UBC HANDOUT / PNG
The researchers argue that rates of mortality for some cancers are higher on average for black people, often due to late diagnosis. With skin cancer, the researchers say physicians need to look for melanomas on nails, hands and feet, but they found no images in the textbooks to show what melanoma would look like on different skin colours.

Louie said they also looked at the research for six commonly diagnosed cancers, and another example was that of the images used for breast cancer.

In all the textbooks, they only found two images of black women, and the rest were images of light-skinned women. She said this is alarming because research shows that black women are more likely to die from breast cancer.

Also, there was no representation of Asian, Latino or aboriginal skin tone in any of the books, Louie added.

“The heart of this study is that textbooks may influence how doctors think about patients,” she said. “We think that this underrepresentation may be one way that bias enters medical care. I just think it’s not on their radar.”

UBC sociology professor and study co-author Rima Wilkes said, in a UBC news release, that the findings highlight a need to show greater diversity of skin tones in teaching tools used by medical schools.

via UBC study finds more diversity needed in medical school textbooks | Vancouver Sun

Hollywood Diversity Study Finds ‘Mixed Bag’ When It Comes To Representation

The latest report:

The global box office success of Black Panther is no surprise to UCLA sociologist Darnell Hunt. His annual report on Hollywood diversity argues that movies and TV shows with diverse casts and creators pay off for the industry’s bottom line.

Hunt says Black Panther, for example, “smashed all of the Hollywood myths that you can’t have a black lead, that you can’t have a predominantly black cast and [have] the film do well. It’s an example of what can be done if the industry is true to the nature of the market. But it’s too early to tell if Black Panther will change business practices or it’s an outlier. We argue it demonstrates what’s possible beyond standard Hollywood practices.”

The fifth annual diversity report is subtitled, “Five Years of Progress and Missed Opportunities,” suggesting that America’s increasingly diverse audience prefers diverse film and television content. The study reports that people of color bought the majority of movie tickets for the five of the top 10 films in 2016, and television shows with diverse casts did well in both ratings and social media.

Hunt’s team crunched the numbers for Hollywood’s top 200 films and 100 TV shows from 2015 to 2016. What they found, according to Hunt, was a “mixed bag” that over time shows a pattern: “Two steps ahead, one step back. But at the end of five years, we see there’s not much progress.”

The report states that people of color make up nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population, yet they remain underrepresented on every front on all platforms, including lead roles, writers, directors and showrunners. It finds the same for the talent agents who serve as important industry gatekeepers.

The report also shows that despite making up more than half the population, women remain underrepresented. They gained some jobs in film and TV, but as film directors, they were outnumbered seven to one.

Hunt says there are a few bright spots in television: Broadcast TV and children’s series are increasingly diverse and do well in the ratings. “Most babies born in America today are not white,” Hunt notes, “so if you look at children’s programming, it’s unmistakable that you must have diversity, otherwise the show fails.”

John Ivison: Senate amendments to gender diversity bill set to test Trudeau’s feminist principles

Find Ivison overly alarmist here. Requiring companies to have diversity plans but allowing them to set their own targets, with annual reporting, is a reasonable balance between doing virtually nothing and moving the yardstick.

There are likely some changes that may be needed (e.g., size of companies that are covered).

Bu is meritocracy really at risk as Ivison argues? Seem to recall same argument being used each time organizations want to increase diversity:

Are there any limits to how far Justin Trudeau will go to foster diversity and inclusion? We may be about to find out.

While he was in Davos, the prime minister made a big deal about the representation of women on corporate boards.

“Companies should have a formal policy on gender diversity and make the recruitment of women candidates a priority,” he said in his speech to the World Economic Forum.

To this end, the Liberal government has introduced a bill (C-25) to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act, which (among other things) requires companies to place their diversity policy before their shareholders, and if they fail to do so, to explain why (the widely adopted “comply or explain” approach).

Even that level of intervention has some free marketers wondering what business it is of the government to interfere in the running of private corporations.

But the current proposal is tame compared to amendments being proposed by a group of influential senators that will have many executives choking on their Porterhouse steak.

The six senators — Serge Joyal, Frances Lankin, Paul Massicotte, Lucie Moncion, Ratna Omidvar and André Pratte — have written to their colleagues saying they believe the current bill “lacks teeth.”

They would like to add amendments that would force the 270,000 companies incorporated under the CBCA to adopt diversity policies that set numerical goals and timetables on female, indigenous, disabled and visible minority board representation. Companies would have to report their progress not just to their shareholders but, “for the purposes of monitoring,” to the government. Ministers would be required to prepare and publish a report on the data – a clear indication that further corrective action could one day be taken.

“To be clear: our amendment would not set quotas,” the senators say.

Nonetheless, quotas would be set, even if, at this stage, by the companies themselves.

The senators are now rallying their colleagues and if they have the votes, bill C-25 will be sent back to the House of Commons. One source said there appears to be a critical mass of senators in favour of the amendments, which will likely be introduced next week.

At that point, Trudeau will have a decision to make. While the government has not looked kindly on Senate amendments, Trudeau charged senators to use their independent judgment to improve government legislation. He is unlikely to want to shirk what he sees as his moral duty to promote diversity and inclusion.

Carol Hansell, senior partner at the Toronto law firm Hansell LLP, is critical of the bill in its existing form for a number of reasons, principally because it will force companies to hold annual elections of individual directors — the concept of majority voting. She said she believes governance should flow from securities regulation, not corporate statute, which she deems too rigid to respond to changing circumstances.

Hansell thinks the same is true of the diversity issue and that many people would find the imposition of government oversight “objectionable.”

“I think everyone is uncomfortable with quotas. It’s too blunt a tool,” she said.

Even Trudeau shied away from anything that resembled a quota in the legislation. When Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains introduced the bill, he said it would “contribute to an inclusive economic growth agenda” but would not unduly burden business.

The bill was deemed sufficiently benign by the Conservatives that they supported it – pointing out much of it was based on their economic action plan.

The “comply or explain” model has already been adopted by the Canadian Securities Administrators, covering most of Canada’s publicly traded companies.

The dissenting senators point out the results have been unspectacular over the past few years — 14 per cent of board seats are now occupied by women, up from 11 per cent in 2015.

Only 1.1 per cent of board members are Indigenous, 3.2 per cent have disabilities and 4.3 per cent belong to visible minorities.

As a share of the population, all four groups are under-represented (women and girls make up 50.4 per cent of the Canadian population; three per cent are Indigenous; 19.9 per cent are visible minorities and 13.7 per cent report some kind of disability).

Smart companies are moving toward board representation that more accurately reflects their shareholders and customers.

But we are veering into dangerous territory when we reject the notion of meritocracy as a mechanism that merely re-inforces male privilege.

Change is happening before our eyes, even if it is not as rapid as some might like.

But it is simply not the role of government to dictate who should be running the nation’s businesses.

Source: John Ivison: Senate amendments to gender diversity bill set to test Trudeau’s feminist principles