For example, men saw that there was a programme to mentor women, which they viewed as an affirmative programme to help women’s progress. For men it was the potential and the effort that gave them a sense of well-being.
For women their conclusion of dissatisfaction was based on performance.
Her answer was that both men and women are right, at least based on what they are observing and what facts or cues they give weight to for their differing conclusions.
Several explanations can be put forward for these differences: 1.
Professor Cheryl Kaiser of the University of Washington refers to the “illusion of inclusion” in which people believe that discrimination and unfair practices can’t exist if there is a diversity office or set of programmes in place directed at these practices. It is the phenomenon of sorting facts and observations in a way that confirms what we already believe.
There can be a distinct gap between the formal programmes and the informal work culture, thereby setting up the potential for the illusion. So if men think progress is being made for women, they will place more weight on the facts they see and believe confirm the advancement, and pay less attention to the impact of the impediments. Who most feels the impact of the unlevel playing field?
Focus groups and internal workforce surveys disaggregated by gender (or other salient identities) can help.
The leadership may believe, looking through their lens, that the organization has strong programmes for hiring, evaluation and feedback, career development and promotions, access to critical assignments, mentoring and sponsoring, and other inclusive practices.
In a research report by Kieran Snyder on how men and women were described in personnel reviews, 76% of feedback on women included comments on personality such as terms like abrasive, judgemental and strident.
Just 2% of reviews on men included those types of comments.