Over the past two years, as I’ve helped build and lead the Advantage Women’s Interactive Network (WIN) employee resource group, I found myself having conversations with other associates who wondered why I am dedicating so much time and effort to this voluntary role that is unrelated to my compensation or performance review. “What’s the point?” they ask. “Why does it matter to you whether women are promoted into leadership roles?”
There isn’t a simple way to answer these questions.
One of the reasons my involvement in WIN matters is allyship — the ability to use my position and privilege (a “scary” word, I know) as an American, middle-class, white male executive to support historically marginalized communities. I’m able to leverage the privilege and power that our society gives to me to help increase opportunities for others. This desire for a higher purpose has led my heart to help women, all women, including those who identify as nonbinary.
It’s also about fixing a broken rung that has long existed on the career ladder at so many companies. Women still make only 82% of a man’s wages in the same full-time position and women of color earn even less, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. A McKinsey & Co. study, “Women in the Workforce 2021,” showed that women are promoted to manager-level roles at half the rates of men. Even worse, the small gains that have been made for white women over time have not translated to gains for women of color.
At Advantage, we are fortunate our company is committed to prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. Our leadership recognizes we must create an inclusive culture to grow and succeed.
Our employee resource groups, such as WIN, provide a positive, inclusive support system where everyone has a voice. The amount of education, content, resources and self-reflection these groups provide to anyone who joins is incredible.
WIN’s mission is to help build an inclusive culture and provide community and support to help women grow and lead. WIN encourages women to achieve more in a world that is not equal, while celebrating and highlighting women’s accomplishments, abilities and contributions.
When I have conversations with others about why I’m so involved in WIN, I’m sure to ask, “How are you supporting gender equality?”