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IIt’s March, which means everyone wants to talk about college basketball, unpredictable weather, and, if my inbox attests, women’s equality. It’s filled with arguments about March being Women’s History Month, as well as International Women’s Day (today!) and Equal Pay Day (March 14), the day that symbolizes how far in the year women have to work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

Unfortunately, the question of compensation is not improving much. Last week, the Pew Research Center shared its latest study on women’s earnings, finding that working women over the age of 16 earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2022 – a rate that hasn’t changed. significantly in 21 years, from 80 cents on the dollar in 2002. The reasons are also the same: women are disproportionately distributed in the majors and lowest-paying fields; they often have to leave the labor market because of their caring responsibilities, which affects their future earning potential and hours worked; and while these reasons explain much of the difference, direct discrimination and bias also play a role.

Women’s rights are not improving either. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned in an emotional speech at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council that years of progress on women’s rights are “vanishing before our eyes”, as the disappearance reproductive health rights, continued sexual abuse and lack of education and employment opportunities have set the goal of equal rights for women now “300 years from now”. A coalition of human rights groups also urged the UN last week to take “urgent” action against the US abortion ban, arguing that the restrictions constitute a crisis with consequences. “devastating” that violates the United States’ obligations under international law.

But there are places where progress is being made. I wrote earlier this week about IKEA Retail’s efforts to achieve gender parity in its management ranks, speaking with their head of human resources, Ulrika Biesèrt. (Biesèrt leads the people and culture of the Ingka Group, by far the largest of IKEA’s franchises and whose core business, IKEA Retail, operates nearly 400 IKEA stores.) Over the past decade, he has grown the percentage of its 31 national CEOs who are women from 28% to 45%, and the percentage of its retail leadership teams from 35% to 56%. While the group’s management team still has some way to go – five of its 13 leaders are women – the other numbers are a rare feat for corporate management teams.

I spoke with Biesèrt about how they got there, and some of his answers were expected: CEO ownership of the problem, managers measuring equality, expanding parental leave benefits (naturally, we’re talking from IKEA with Swedish roots). But she noted some interesting approaches: All leadership positions must have a male and female candidate presented as finalists, the company banned salary history questions globally in 2021, and she’s been working to achieve the “critical mass” (at least three women) in management teams after seeing the difference it has made.

“When you have three or more [women] you actually have more impact,” Biesèrt told me. One woman may seem symbolic, two may feel like “twins”, she said, but three helps the rest of the team recognize “that we are not quite the same”.

To learn more about IKEA’s approach, check out my story here. And while you’re at it, check out contributor Ruth Gotian’s list of 10 must-read books on women in the workplace.


Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe 2023 List

What were you doing with your career at 29 (if you’re already there)? For many of us, that pales in comparison to what our new inductees on the 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 Make List. Check out the latest report from Forbes’ Under 30 Franchise, learn about the 600 founders, leaders and entrepreneurs who have started creative businesses to tackle issues such as global warming, reproductive health, student debt and financial freedom.


News from the world of work

Musk apologizes for publicly mocking disabled employee: In a rare movement, Forbes’ reports Robert Hart, Twitter chief Elon Musk has apologized to a disabled former employee who he says did not do meaningful work and was seeking a large payout after employee Haraldur “Halli” Thorleifsson contacted Musk on Twitter to find out if he was still employed after several days of being locked out of his work computer and not receiving responses from HR. The apology came after Musk took to Twitter to publicly grill and mocked Thorleifsson, who uses a wheelchair, and said he can’t perform manual labor for long periods of time.

Prepare for AI: In a Salesforce global survey of 11,000 workers, only one in 10 employees said their day-to-day role currently involves artificial intelligence, writes ForbesEmmy Lucas. But with the rise of technologies like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and growing focus on improving existing workforces in the face of the threat of a downturn, 80% of senior IT leaders cited the need for Recruit and develop employees in generative AI Some companies, from Snap to Instacart, are already using ChatGPT And you want to capitalize on the hype? Forbes‘ Derek Saul reports on a Bank of America report that picks stocks of companies that are primed for growth.

What to know about the NLRB’s dismissal decision: McLaren Macomb decision allows recently laid-off workers to speak freely about what happened to them on the job, writes Forbes Contributor Tom Spiggle on the recent announcement from the National Labor Relations Board.

Starbucks’ Schultz at the helm? The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will vote March 8 on whether to subpoena outgoing Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to testify at a massive hearing on the state of labor organizing efforts, collective bargaining and working conditions, said the committee’s chairman, Senator Bernie. Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement Wednesday, Forbes“reports Sara Dorn.

Dismissal in two stages: Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta is reportedly planning to cut thousands of employees in its second round of layoffs since November, as fears of an economic recession linger into 2023. Its stock soared on news . But it’s not the only one laying off more: Waymo, Google parent Alphabet’s self-driving unit, has laid off more than 130 workers, reports Forbes‘Brian Bushhard.

Amazon takes a break in Virginia: Amazon has suspended construction of a section of its second headquarters in northern Virginia, writes Forbes‘ Bushard as the company reassesses its workforce following a hiring freeze and a series of mass layoffs in an “unusual macroeconomic environment”.


Practical information and advice from Forbes contributors to build your career, lead smarter and find balance.

Participate in the Great Resignation last year? Here’s how to return to work successfully.

Layoffs are part of life. They can be done with dignity.

You may not be George Santos. But if you lied on your resume, here’s how to survive the mistake.

Do you suffer from burnout or mental health issues? Spend more time with good friends.

Nobody likes to speak professionally. Here’s how to do better.


Books, links and other web reading on work, careers and leadership

The new book by former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty Good Power: Leading positive change in our lives, our work and our world, recounts her rise as one of the few female tech CEOs.

THE Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson finds a surprising impact of the growing rate of working from home: Perhaps working remotely makes it easier for couples to become parents and for parents to have more children.

Amid the pandemic, personality assessments have exploded into a giant industry to help explain your work style, reports the New York Times’ Emma Goldberg.

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