Representation Not Sufficient for Promoting Gender Diversity, Study Says

Representation of women and minorities in groups, which choose organisation’s leaders on its own is not sufficient to support gender diversity unless the organisational culture changes, a recently published study showed.

A team of scientists around Nicola Persico at the Northwestern University and Bernhard Ganglmair at the University of Mannheim and the Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) analysed the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), an open standards organization, which develops and promotes voluntary Internet standards.

Top operational leaders in the IETF are appointed by a ten-member selection committee called NomCom. Its members are randomly selected each year from a pool of volunteers. „In the case of the IETF, more women were appointed only after cultural norms supporting diversity and inclusion became more salient“, the scientists stated.

“Our results are highly relevant for the current discussion about a quota for women in political parties or the boardrooms of companies. They show how important it is to pay attention to cultural norms,” Ganglmair said. “Higher participation of women must go hand in hand with changes in the entire organization.”

For more information, please see the press release.