Several states have recently taken steps to push employers, schools and the broader culture to move with them, and help dismantle a culture of discrimination experienced by black women and men who say they continue to face implicit or explicit pressures to conform, unwelcome comments or even outright discrimination.
After being stuck at 16 percent for several years, the percentage of women-held board seats in the S&P 500 now reaches nearly 27 percent. Perhaps most notable is that all-male boards among S&P 500 companies have become a nearly extinct species. In 2009, there were 56 firms in the S&P 500 that did not include any women. As of June 28, there was one.
Called Re-Inc, the brand is designed to be gender-neutral and will highlight issues like equality and inclusivity. There will be only one size chart — ranging from extra extra small to extra extra large, rather than separate sizing for men and women — and the first products will be T-shirts that read “liberté, égalité, defendez,” a play on the French motto.
“We know that appearance matters for women and people of color in being seen as competent and worthy of respect,” said Jaclyn Wong, a professor of sociology at University of South Carolina. “It becomes this difficult position: ‘Do I want to dress down because I don’t want to be seen as this kind of stiff and un-fun person, or do I want to continue dressing up because that’s the only way people will treat me with respect?’”
In addition to having women make up half of all incoming Goldman analysts and entry-level associates — representing 70 percent of the bank’s annual hiring — the bank aims to have 11 percent of those recruits be black and 14 percent be Hispanic/Latino in the Americas.
Experts on gender, politics and leadership say the multiple women running in the 2020 Democratic primary could help to normalize the idea of female presidential candidates -- as opposed to them being cast as a novelty -- making them seem more like of a part of the political process. And seeing multiple women on a debate stage rather than one woman amid a semi-circle of men could help reinforce the individualism of female candidates, they said.
"Much of the advice that minorities are often given around advancing and succeeding emphasizes the ways in which they may need to conform or assimilate -- to see who’s in power and emulate those models of power," Roberts said. "These women are saying look, my secret sauce, or my competitive advantage or my unique valuable resources, will come from the combination of all of the distinctive experiences that I bring."
TEQuitable is among a wave of businesses emerging in the wake of widespread revelations of sexual misconduct in workplaces. The startups, many of which have female founders or co-founders, want to disrupt a costly and persistent problem. A Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll this fall reported that nearly half of women say they have been sexually harassed at work, and the financial stakes for employers are substantial.