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Actions Inform Culture

Statistics show sexual assault victims are ~90% women, ~7% men, and ~3% transgender/non-binary. 80% of the victims know their assailant.

Research shows that 90% of sexual assaults are committed by repeat offenders, and statistics show that 99% of them will get away with it. By stopping repeat offenders alone, we can prevent 59% of all sexual assault on college campuses.

Our culture is informed by our actions. Always ensure consent; only “yes” means yes. Step in if someone is too incapacitated to give consent. If you see something that doesn’t look right, say something.

Actions inform culture. Spread the message.


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Clean Humor

Sexism, racism, homophobia, bigotry…they’re just not funny. Yet humor and jokes are often drivers of ostracism, discrimination, and trivialization.

Humor can elevate, or it can devastate. The ability to make others smile and laugh is both powerful and precious. A derogatory joke may seem harmless, but it often has a lasting negative effect on others.

Use humor for good; lift with laughter. Don’t try to be funny at the expense of others’ identity. Remember that “locker room” talk is not acceptable anywhere, even in locker rooms. Call out jokes that are derogatory towards women and minorities.

Clean humor. Spread the message.

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Elect Broadly

When it comes to political representation, citizens have significant power to create change. Democracy is at its best when everyone participates. Government is at its best when it is truly representative of the people. There are nuanced approaches to solving the systemic barriers that women and people of color face in getting nominated for public office and conducting successful campaigns, including the election system itself (women fare better under proportional representation systems); lack of access to financing; weaker professional networks; and outside responsibilities that make it harder to take on punishing and unpredictable working conditions.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union publishes an annual ranking of countries by gender parity in political representation; as of 2018, the United States ranks 103 out of 193 countries. Let’s fix this. The best things we can do are to donate, volunteer, and vote. When we get out the vote, we win. Let’s change the face of government.

Elect broadly. Spread the message.

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Equal Work Equal Pay

If two people are doing work of equal value, they should receive equal pay for that work. Any deviation from this principle on the basis of gender (or race, ethnicity, age, any other factor) is simply wrong. Yet, unfortunately, no country can claim a gender wage gap of zero.

There are numerous culprits to the gender wage gap. Ultimately, equal pay is about fairness, yet. There are a number of factors that contribute to pay inequality, including: women are more likely to work in the public sector, where median pay is lower; having children biologically typically requires women to take more time off from work; women are more likely to work part-time; and roles filled predominantly by women tend to be paid less. The data shows that women continue to be paid less for the same work or work of equal value, a disparity that can ultimately be attributed to biased practices, policies, and people.

Transparency in compensation is critical. Create and stick to compensation bands. Speak up – on behalf of yourself or others.

Equal work, equal pay. Spread the message.


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Greet Neutrally

Research shows that gendered greetings lead to prejudice and bias among children. The common “hey guys!” is evidence of masculine default bias among adults. In drawing attention to gender, the greeter unconsciously plants the seeds for stereotypes and potential exclusion.

Gender is the only identity we use in greeting others. It’s already considered inappropriate to use race or ethnicity in greetings; why gender? Adapting our language is a key element of creating a more inclusive world. Let’s use language to highlight unity instead of difference, and show respect to all.

Here are a few easy suggestions to implement at work. Instead of walking into the office and greeting your colleagues with “Hey, guys,” say “Hey, team.” Instead of opening a work meeting with “Good morning, ladies & gentlemen” use “Good morning, everyone.” There are resources available if you’re interested in research on the negative impact of gendered language. These are all small and easy fixes with big long-term implications.

If you’re looking for something to help you develop this good habit...there’s an app for it! As part of the inaugural genEquality Hackathon, we developed Not Just Guys, a Chrome extension that highlights and helps correct for masculine default bias in written communications. Download it today!

Greet neutrally. Spread the message.


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Invest Equitably

As of 2019, women-led companies received ~2.2% of total venture capital funding - a number that has stalled for years. Only ~7% of venture capitalists are women. Research shows that female entrepreneurs are typically asked prevention-oriented questions, while male entrepreneurs are asked promotion-oriented questions.

All entrepreneurs deserve equal respect.

It’s not enough to call out bad behavior; investors need to role model better behavior. Keep it professional. Ask entrepreneurs better, unbiased questions. Diversity isn’t a buzzword; it’s a business advantage. Inclusion isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s a cultural advantage.

Invest equitably. Spread the message.


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Mind the Adjective

Adjectives can reinforce gender stereotypes, and they can represent unconscious bias. Stereotypes and bias lead to uneven gender ratios and representation in government, work, and more.

When women show stereotypically-masculine leadership traits, they are described as abrasive, aggressive, bossy, crazy, or stubborn. When men show stereotypically-feminine emotional traits, they are described as weak, wus, pansy, or pussy.

The language we use to describe one another - at work, home, school, or any other social setting - has far bigger implications than we may realize. Biased language, especially adjectives, adversely affect women at work, kids on the playground, and men in their peer groups. Research shows that 1 in 5 kids experience bullying for their gender, and this leads to mental health issues, educational performance disparities, and other problems. When we think about the fact that the number of women in the C-Suite has hardly changed in ~30 years, perhaps we should take a look at some of the basics - starting with the language used to evaluate women who are up for promotion. Research reviews of performance evaluations show a propensity for gendered bias in language used - and performance evaluations have a direct effect on the advancement of women’s careers.

The old adage “Think twice before you speak” is a great way to make a difference in advancing equality. Avoid using stereotypical adjectives – especially in the workplace and in performance evaluations. If you hear these adjectives used in a casual conversation, kindly say something.

Mind the adjective. Spread the message.


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Represent

Proudly represent ALL of who you are.

You are not defined by the stereotypes of your gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, religion, ability, or circumstance. You know that women thrive outside the bounds of limiting characterizations. You reject the antiquated definition of masculinity. You recognize the rights of gender non-conforming people.

Your lived experiences point to a broader narrative. You are a complex human being and capable of the full range of human possibilities. You defy narratives that would shrink you. You represent your truth and make space for others to represent theirs. You reach across differences to achieve your full human potential, and help others do the same.

Represent. Spread the message.

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Seeing Is Believing

From the characters and people we see in films and the media, to the portraits and statues we see at school, at work, in public parks and streets, and at museums, to the stock images and people we see in corporate and government leadership positions – what we see influences our beliefs, attitudes, and goals.

Role models and representation really matter.

Ratios and representatives don’t change on their own; we change them. When you see uneven gender representation somewhere, speak up. Talk to your school administrators, leaders at work, and/or local government. Send feedback to media companies. Run for office. Vote.

Seeing is believing. Spread the message.


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Share the Work

Every day, in every part of the world, women spend more time on unpaid work than men do. In North America, women do an average of 45 minutes more unpaid work; in the Middle East/North Africa, women do ~5 hours more unpaid work.

Unpaid work includes household chores, caregiving for children and elders, helping children with schoolwork, and more.

Sharing the work empowers everyone to add value and income, sets a strong example for children, and ends the gender inequality cycle.

Share the work. Spread the message.