10 Things Employers Learned about Advancing Women in the Workplace at the BWWC Q4 Briefing

We had a fantastic 4th Quarter Briefing event. For those who want to get the snapshot of 10 things we came away with, we have summarized it for you.

  1. Promote pay transparency to help women advocate for higher pay. If you don’t know what the man next to you makes, it’s tough to assess the wage gap.  If you don’t know what the man next to you makes, it’s tough to assess whether or not you are being paid fairly.

  2. Remember to train your team and change policy language along with changing employment policies pertaining to salary offers when hiring. This helps level the playing field on compensation by not setting wages on historic wage rates. Older workers have been subject to this issue as well, as it was assumed they might make too much to be hired.

  3. Consider the self-evaluation provision of the MA Equal Pay law as an opportunity to conduct an internal audit of compensation and then take steps to end any wage disparities that are uncovered. This can now be used so you can try to end the gap as an affirmative defense in, without litigation.

  4. Post salary ranges for jobs at the amount you’ve budgeted, rather than depend on employees to define what they’d like to earn.

  5. Rate senior management on diversity of their groups, and each partner based on the diversity of their project teams

  6. Anticipate that clients may pressure for diverse teams. Note that General Counsels, who comprise a large part of the Women’s Bar Association, are a key stakeholder group with key purchasing decisions., And a big impact was made when a General Counsel from a local insurance firm fired a large law firm for not being diverse enough.

  7. Consider leveraging groups that are active in advancing women when naming the next Board member. The Boston Club and the BWLN are active on this front and have resumes at the ready.

  8. Advancing women of color is an acute problem. Cross-cultural, inclusive networking is very important. Also consider connecting with folks like Carol Fulp’s ‘The Partnership,’ Phyllis Barajas’ Conexión, and Colette Phillips’ GetKonnected. But don’t be afraid to innovate about this in out-of-the-box ways.

  9. Consider the conditions of work that can set the stage for sexual harassment, which include low diversity, lack of accountability structures, and organizational climate and culture. Do a Climate Survey to see how official policies align with the climate: Analyze the culture of the workplace which is so important. Look at salary negotiation and composition. Allow anonymous responses. UMASS Boston and UMASS Lowell have women’s centers willing and excited to partner with employers on this.

  10. Bystander training is critical. Previous work on harassment and bystander training has been a punishment approach, especially with men. Bystander training engages everyone in proactively addressing workplace sexual harassment.

Now we are looking to everyone as this stuff [sexual harassment] happens, but we can all learn to be proactive in terms of creating a safe workplace.


What will Boston Women’s Workforce Council be doing in response to what we have been hearing?

  • We are creating a web portal in 2019 to guide employers to best practices of compact signers and create an ongoing conversation because best practices are not static.

  • We will analyze synergies between groups working to advance women in Boston so they can be leveraged.

  • We will be reviewing the criticality of bystander training as subject matter for our 2019 agenda.

  • We will continue to advocate for all women, particularly Women of Color, in our work.

Thanks again to our panelists:

Advocates Panel Moderator: Juliette Mayers, Founder and CEO of Inspiration Zone

Advocates Panel:

  • Women’s Bar Association (WBA)/Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women(MCSW) - Nina Kimball, Pay Equity Task Force Co-Chair; Chair, MCSW

  • Boston Women’s Leadership Network - Beth Boland, Founder

  • The Boston Club: Nancy Nager, Vice President, President-Elect

Academics Panel Moderator: Phyllis Barajas, Executive Director of Conexión

Academics Panel:

  • Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, UMass Boston - Professor Ann Bookman, Director

  • Center for Women and Work, UMass Lowell - Professor Meg Bond, Director

  • Center for Women and Business, Bentley - Deb Pine, Executive Director

Save the Date: Events through January, 2019