- Sodexo North America has announced a partnership with the Paradigm for Parity initiative, joining a group of more than 80 employers including Huffpost, EY and The Hershey Company, among others. Paradigm for Parity aims to reduce the gap in corporate leadership positions held by men and women, with the stated long-term goal of being able to "achieve full gender parity by 2030."
- Through the partnership, Sodexo said it is committed to, among other items: eliminating or minimizing unconscious bias in the workplace; increasing the number of women in senior operating roles; and providing women with sponsors at work. Sodexo senior vice president of corporate responsibility and global chief diversity officer Rohini Anand said in a statement that women currently make up 42% of the company's executive committee.
- In addition to implementing Paradigm for Parity's "5-Point Action Plan," Sodexo said it will work through existing internal programs to support and advance women, including its Sodexo Women's International Forum for Talent (SWIFt).
Sponsoring professional women has been shown as an effective way to advance accomplished women in their organizations. In a previous interview, Betty Spence, president of the National Association for Female Executives, told HR Dive that while men have sponsors who create opportunities for them and their rise in their companies, women often lack such support and are frequently denied chances for advancement. Mentoring, a different concept from sponsorship, is for people who need advice and coaching as they move along in their careers, Spence said.
Partnerships that aim to address gender parity can help workplaces set goals and design strategies for overcoming bias against women and clearing the way for their advancement. Employers that still struggle with tagging women for leadership roles can benefit from these kinds of initiatives.
But other organizations may need a complete culture overhaul to get past systemic gender bias. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed several lawsuits on the issue recently, including one against the owners of a Harley-Davidson dealership for allegedly denying a qualified female manager several chances for a promotion, despite her fitness for advancement. HR professionals can work with managers on their hiring and promotion practices to ensure compliance and promote diversity best practices.