September Dinner Meeting 2019

“What Makes A Company A Good Employer For Women?”

Presented by Dr. Katherine J. Klein

A growing number of employers, business leaders, investors and HR practitioners are asking the question, “What makes a company a good employer for women?”

Dr. Katherine J. Klein, colleague in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, documented the barriers, biases, and limitations that women continue to experience in the workplace.  The result is her ground-breaking study, Four for Women: A Framework for Evaluating Companies’ Impact on the Women They Employ, that promises to change the conversation about the workplace outcomes that matter most to women.

Good employers for women, they show, knock down these barriers, biases, and limitations to create companies that really work for women – companies where women are well-represented at every level and in every unit of the company; companies where women are paid fairly and well; companies where women experience health and safety – not stress and harassment; companies where women are happy to work.

And because these outcomes promote overall organizational excellence, companies that are good employers for women are also good employers for men.

Learning Objectives:

  • To learn what really makes a company a good employer for women – and for men too. What should we measure to know if a company is really a good employer for women?  Why are these outcomes particularly meaningful and important?  Is a company that’s a good employer for women also a good employer for men? (The answer to the last question is an emphatic yes!)
  • To understand the meaning, measurement, causes, and consequences of “gender-based occupational segregation” in the workplace. What kinds of roles are women most likely to fill in business?  What is a “male-type job” and what is a “female-type job”?  What are the causes and consequences of gender-based occupational segregation?
  • To understand the research evidence on workplace compensation for women and men. What is a living wage?  What is equal pay for equal work?  What is the gender pay gap?  If you want to build a company that is a great place for women to work, which metric(s) matter most?
  • To learn what the research evidence says about the impact of employment on men’s and women’s health. How do the benefits offered by American companies compare to the benefits offered by companies in other industrialized nations? Where do US companies fall short?  Is there anything your company can do to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace?
  • To reflect on the research evidence regarding workplace satisfaction. Is job satisfaction a valuable or relatively useless metric to assess whether a company is a good employer for men and women?  What can we learn from measures of men’s and women’s job satisfaction?
  • To reflect on our places of employment. What steps – if any – do we each want to take to make our organizations better employers for women and for men, too?

Katherine J. Klein is the Edward H. Bowman Professor of Management and the Vice Dean of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII). With a passionate commitment to social impact and deep research expertise, Katherine guides WSII’s vision and strategy, partnerships, research, and faculty engagement.   An award-winning organizational psychologist, she teaches courses on social impact, leadership, organizational change, and research methods. She is a fellow of the Academy of Management, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. Katherine’s current research focuses on the effects of leadership succession on organizational change and effectiveness. Katherine received her B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and her Ph.D. in Community Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She loves spending time with her family and friends, taking exercise classes, traveling abroad (especially to Rwanda), and eating really dark chocolate.

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