How Workplace Discrimination Impedes Economic Growth

Thursday, October 26, 2017
Women workers eat lunch as they take a break from planting beans at Cikawao village in Majalaya, Indonesia, October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta
Diana Farrell

Chief Executive Officer and President, JPMorgan Chase Institute

Jody Heymann

Dean, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and Founding Director, WORLD Policy Analysis Center

Rachel B. Vogelstein

Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow and Director, Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations

Leading international institutions and private sector corporations have concluded that women’s economic participation is critical to global growth and prosperity. However, today nearly 90 percent of nations still have laws on the books that impede women’s work, thereby undermining economic development. Diana Farrell and Jody Heymann discuss the legal barriers that women face, with particular focus on workplace discrimination. Heymann presents findings from a new global study of 193 countries showing that more than 81 million working women do not have legal protections against gender-based employment discrimination.

This meeting is part of a high-level series, in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to explore the economic effects of inequality under the law. 


VOGELSTEIN: Workplace discrimination—not only sexual harassment, but also discrimination in hiring, firing, promotion, and pay—is an issue that demands attention, not only from those who care about human rights, but also from those who are concerned about economic progress. Today we are very familiar with the wealth of evidence that confirms the relationship between women’s participation in the labor force and economic growth. But in many cases, national legal codes have failed to keep pace with this economic reality. In far too many countries, women remain legally unprotected from discrimination in the workplace, which undermines their economic participation. And even where laws do exist, social and cultural norms impede their implementation.

In the past 25 years, we’ve talked about before the remarkable legal progress that we’ve seen for women, with a record number of countries putting laws prohibiting violence against women and other human rights abuses on the books. But what about women’s economic participation? In 2017, where can women count on protection against workplace discrimination under the law? In which countries or regions does the law fall short? And what will it take to finally level the legal playing field for women in the workplace? Well, we are very pleased to host our discussion today with two experts who can help us answer these questions.

We are very fortunate to be joined by Dr. Jody Heymann, the dean of the UCLA School of Public Health and the founding director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center. Today Jody and her team at UCLA are launching the first-ever comprehensive global dataset on workplace discrimination under the law, and we are very privileged that she has chosen to do so here at the Council.

Diana, you are just in time. (Laughter.)

FARRELL: One of those mornings. I’m delighted to be here.

VOGELSTEIN: This is perfect timing. We’re doing introductions.

FARRELL: Excellent.

VOGELSTEIN: And thank you, again, for being here.

So we are really pleased about the launch of this dataset that Jody will reveal here today. Her organization examines equal opportunities and social policies in 193 countries around the world. Prior to Jody’s current role, she was the founding director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University, and served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, where she founded the Project on Global Working Families. She is a prolific author of 17 books and has received numerous awards for her work. Jody, thank you so much for being here.

We are also so fortunate to be joined by Diana. She’s an expert on economic growth, and the founding president and CEO of the JPMorgan Chase Institute. During the Obama administration, Diana served in the White House as deputy director of the National Economic Council and as deputy assistant to the president on economic policy, where she led a broad portfolio of economic initiatives, including on financial reform, housing, and innovation. Prior to her government service, Diana led the McKinsey Global Institute, focused on issues including productivity, competitiveness, and growth. Diana, welcome.

So I’ll begin the discussion with a few questions for each of our speakers, and then we’ll open the floor to our discussion.

So, Jody, let’s begin by discussing the research that you are releasing today, which, as I mentioned, is the first-ever global study on—of legal protection for women in the workplace. Tell us what you found. Where in the world are women entitled to legal protection from workplace discrimination?

HEYMANN: Hi, everybody. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.

And thank you so much, Rachel, for hosting. It’s fantastic to be here with you and with Diana.

Before I begin, I also want to introduce Nick Perry from my team, who leads our outreach and partnerships. So please feel free to come up afterwards to either of us if there are any ways we can be of help.

So we started this—we’ve done a series of studies for the past decade that look quantitatively at over 1,500 aspects of policy in 193 countries. We have over a million and a half data points on public policy, and we link them to outcomes, to say when does policy matter. Does it—is it being implemented? Does it improve health? Does it improve equality? Does it improve economic outcomes? Do they worsen?

We started this effort two years ago, having no idea, of course, that the week we launched it would be right when sexual harassment was blowing up in the media. So people have asked me over the past couple days, why did we start it two years ago. And I think probably most people in the room can answer that, which is because we all knew these problems existed and we all knew just not enough was being done.

There are fantastic international agreements on this. CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of (all Forms of) Discrimination Against Women, is just one clear agreement. You know, over 180 ratifiers—I think it’s 187 now, but someone can look it up. But they go nowhere unless there are actually at least laws on the books, and then they get implemented.

So we took a look. It takes a while to collect them from all 193 countries. I’m just going to give you a quick overview. I’m sorry that the screen is so small, but that’s why you all got USB keys, so you can plug it into your own device.

So, why care? Women earn 77 cents on the dollar. I’ll just go ahead. So these three numbers, if you remember nothing else: 77, 235, 82. And then that’s it, you can get your dessert and go—(laughter)—though you should listen to Diana too.

What are those three numbers? The disparity in earnings. That’s composed of a number of elements, but one important piece of that is bias and discrimination. Another important piece of that is the separation—it’s gender segregation in the workforce. This is not unrelated. The professions in which women experience the most sexual harassment are the male-dominated professions when you look in-country and divide it up.

Two hundred thirty-five million is the number of women who right now are working in 68 countries—so a third of the world’s countries have no legal protection against sexual harassment. Now, I should tell you 235 million, it’s a conservative estimate. The number of working-age women—so, if you include the women who are out—could be working but are out of the workforce because of discrimination in hiring, because of not wanting to live through the sexual harassment, as well as other reasons, that’s 424 million living in these countries of working-age women, no protection on sexual harassment.

And then, so why 82 million? Eighty-two million is the number of people right now—number of women right now who are working—again, that number doesn’t include the ones who are too discouraged by bias to work—82 million in countries with absolutely no protection around equality in promotions, in demotions, in pay, in any of the core protections.

So I didn’t expect when we started this data to start with sexual harassment, but there obviously is reason now to start with sexual harassment. And I’ll just mention that this is the tip of the iceberg in our data. This just shows you the parts of the world—green—that protect against harassment for women and men—because, of course, men can be harassed just as women can be harassed; yellow, that protect, but only for women; red, large areas with no prohibition. Some of those areas with no prohibition I think would surprise many of us because they have other protections.

Now, what about equal pay? The story about equal pay is a mixed one. And here I just want to focus on the difference between equal pay for equal work, meaning if you’re in the exact same job you get equal pay—that’s the countries here in light green; there are more of those; that includes the United States—and the countries in dark green, 87—87 countries in the world have equal pay for equal value. The United States doesn’t. I have to mention it since we’re sitting here. Why equal pay for equal value? Because as long as we have female-dominated professions that have the same training, same productivity that are paid less, we still have huge gender disparities. And, in fact, we have now female-dominated professions that have higher training requirements, higher economic productivity, but lower pay, because we don’t have equal pay for equal value.

I’m just going to end on a note and then pass it back to—we’ll have some more slides later, but I don’t want to go through too many slides at once—just to say when we think about really equal rights, we have to protect the entire career course. Are women hired? Are they fired disproportionately? Do they have a chance at promotion? But also, this map, do you have a chance at training? Because if we can pick who’s training and we only train men, then even if we give people with equal training the same pay, we are not giving equal chance.

VOGELSTEIN: Jody, thanks for that incredibly comprehensive overview. I want to just ask a follow-up question. Can you tell us—can you give us a sense of how legal protections against gender-based employment discrimination have changed over time? You know, which countries or regions are leading the way? Which would you highlight as really lagging behind? And which populations of women are least likely to be protected under the laws that do exist?

HEYMANN: Right. So I think—I think the good news on the regions part is every single region—and you can—you can see it on this map, but you’ll see it on a couple more I’ll show—every single region has good laws on the books, and every single economic level. You can find low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries, and in every region, that have good laws, and that have a range of implementation but enough implementation to have impact. But every region also has huge gaps. So that’s the flipside of it.

I think the place that’s consistently concerning is minority marginalized groups of women are very unprotected. So if we look at promotions/demotions overall, the world looks very green. Green is good in these maps, so all you have to be able to do is see from your seat that most of the world says you can’t discriminate against women in promotions and demotions. But as soon as you look at other groups, then there start to be a lot of warnings.

So, on age, it’s fair game to discriminate against older women. It’s fair game to discriminate against women of different classes. That’s this one. You can see, again, most of the map is yellow. That means you’re not protected both for your gender and your class. It’s fair game to discriminate against women who have disabilities. There is a little more protection against racial and ethnic minorities, but still there are far too many countries—67—where women who are part of racial and ethnic minorities are only partially protected. Same with religious minorities.

So, as soon as we get—and worst of all would be LGBT. So there the map is almost entirely red. Sixteen countries protect based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.

So I think the big story is we’re—if you think of the Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind, we are leaving a lot of people behind.

VOGELSTEIN: Through the inequalities right there from the start in the law, before you even get to the challenges of implementation.

Diana, I’d love to pull you into the conversation to talk with us a little bit about some of the financial implications of the discrimination that Jody just described. At JPMorgan you’ve lead a research team to analyze the gender wage gap, one area where millions of women lack for protection. What have you found in your search? And why does it matter, from an economic growth perspective?

FARRELL: Sure. You know, thank you. And, again, sorry for being a couple minutes late. But when we started talking, Rachel and Jody, about this session, at first I thought, wait, you know, Jody’s presentation is global and it’s got all these fabulous maps. And what we’ve done is almost the opposite. And at first I worried that this wouldn’t connect, but I think they do connect in an important way. And I’ll bring that connection together.

So what we do at the JPMorgan Chase Institute is kind of next frontier economic research. We’re tapping into the bank’s transactional-level data of its bread and butter businesses, and ingesting them to create data assets that help us understand what’s really happening with the economy. That’s what we do. And so think big data technology platforms meets behavioral science against this huge balance sheet of activities. And we do that for the public good. We put that out into the public domain. And we’ve done a lot of work to understand the economic and financial well-being of households, using the Chase platform, of course. That’s a U.S. retail network. So everything I’ll say about this is so far only in the U.S.

But it struck me that it was important in the context of what you’ve done, Jody, because this—you know, the U.S. stands out as a country that is mostly green across all of these dimensions, except for notable— you noted this equal pay guarantee for men and women, where it is not. And I think what our lens brings to life is what does this look like on the ground at the very microlevel if we kind of construct this? So we have been doing work on income and spending and financial outcomes generally, including wages but more generally income. And what you find is a very— I think, very disturbing picture, because we are talking about the country in this world that presumably is better on many, many of these dimensions. And there’s still a very large gap.

So I have some slides. I feel like we—oh, OK, Jody. We don’t need to use them, because I can just speak to it. But sometimes it’s visually helpful. So, the first thing to note, it’s important, is because it’s—in itself, it is a point, is when we look at the transactional—our customer base, and in fact which is the basis on which we’re doing all the research—the first observation is that, you know, there are more men than women primary accountholders. That’s the way we look at it. So you have to start with the view that, you know, sometimes that’s fine. It’s a family and they have the male as the primary accountholder. Sometimes it’s something else.

But what we’ve done here is to call what we believe is actually the female head of household. And there are ways in which we can do that. So we’ve got sort of a smaller sample relate to the half and half that is male and female. But it turns out, as you’ll see on the next slide, that it maps the census very, very well. And I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but I think we vaguely know it. When you see the numbers, it’s quite striking. So if you—if you cut the percent of women by income, which is on the left, you see the red is women the blue is men. And the top quintile has only 30 percent women. The bottom quintile has 62 percent.

And it’s just a straight line. The poorer you are—the poorer quintiles tend to have more women in them. The higher income quintiles tend to have more men. Again, we all know that, but I think the numbers are stark. It’s twice as many women in the bottom quintile than the top. And then if you double click on that bottom quintile, what you realize—it’s really old women where this is really concentrated. So once again, you see this concentration that it’s older women in the bottom quintile that really are driving what’s going on. So it turns out our sample is—maps pretty much what the census will tell you. This is not different from the census in any meaningful way.

So what’s the picture? The picture is pretty bad financial outcomes. So if you hold income and age constant for a minute, which already we know is a problematic issue, this is a mapping of what the financial outcomes that—between men and women. Again, holding income and quintiles. And what you’ll see is that, you know, 20 to 25 percent lower for women. It’s 23 percent lower income, 21 percent lower spending, which is something else we look at, 20 percent lower liquid assets which is a form of savings. And by and large, this is interesting, lower revolving credit. But we think that has as much to do with access to credit than it does with a good financial outcome.

Let me pause there. I mean, we’ve done some work to understand how does—how do kind of extraordinary payments, or challenged stresses on the household impact men and women. And if you’re interested we can come back to that. But I think that’s the important issue, that the work that you’ve done, Jody, I think really says this is—this is ground zero. Like, we need to have laws and the practices in place. Then we need to, of course, apply those laws because even though the U.S., in theory, has—prohibits harassment and sex—in the—in the workplace, what we’ve seen in the last few weeks is just, you know, not surprising to many people, but really just a recognition that the laws aren’t enough.

But if we then keep moving forward through those stages, we really have to worry about outcomes. And I think what we’re seeing here is that even in the presumably best country, in some regards—or, one of the better countries, I might say—you know, you really do have materially very different outcomes, even after you control for critical biases in age and income for lower quintile people. So let me pause there, and we can come back to some of the other things if the conversation goes there.

VOGELSTEIN: Diana, I want to pick up on something you just mentioned about some of the challenges to implementation of laws even when they are on the books, and ask both of you about what your prescription for action looks like. Jody, you’ve called for better laws to protect against workplace discrimination. What are some of the barriers to passage? Why haven’t those laws passed already in many of the countries that you’ve looked at? And what are the limitations to that approach in light of some of the challenges that Diana just mentioned? And Diana, we’d love to hear your thoughts specifically about what the role of the private sector could be. You know, passing laws is obviously the function of government, but clearly the private sector has an important role here to play. So I’d like both of your thoughts. Jody, why don’t we start with you and then Diana.

HEYMANN: Great. So, first, I just want to say, fantastic to see Diana’s data. The only thing I would add a friendly amendment to is whether the United States is really one of the best countries on this. I mean, I think for next steps we do have to, in each of our countries, wherever we live and work and collaborate, we have to be realistic about where are we and where do we need to get to? In the case of the United States, when you look at the World Economic Forum’s ranking of the most competitive countries, 11 of the 20 guarantee equal rights for all of those subpopulations I described. The United States doesn’t. We don’t for LGBT. We don’t across social class, where there is pay discrimination in the same job. We can all pick out social class by teeth, by language, by clothing. So I think there are ways—and in terms of equal pay of equal value, 10 of those 20 also guarantee that. So I think there is legislative improvement that can happen in many countries, including ours, for those of us who at least have some either residence here or work here.

So, steps. I think we all need to start owning this as an issue that we share as a global community. There is global consensus in the agreements, but they haven’t been followed. This means we have to all care whether every single country passes the basic legislation. Legislation isn’t enough, but without it people don’t have a right to step forward and complain. They don’t have a right to contest. So what’s that mean? I think for different people in the room it means taking different steps. But I think it does mean working in partnership with leaders within the country that we’re talking about. If you go through—and we can go through later—a series of examples, it’s much easier to get passage in countries where women don’t have a lot of political voice if the women within the country are able to partner also with global groups. So that partnership, led by country members, but with partnerships supporting change make a difference.

Second, laws aren’t enough. They have to be implemented. We have to be monitoring whether they pass. I think we should have maps as part of the global agreements, like CEDAW that—or like the SDGS and the Global Goal 5, which includes 5.1 and equal rights, where every single year we can see who’s done equal rights before the law and who hasn’t. And we should monitor implementation. And then last, and this will pass it over to Diana, I think—I think companies have a role both on the law side and the implementation side. On the law side, we need the voice of the private sector, which you’ve shown so beautifully, will—and when you were at McKinsey—will benefit economically. But we need the voice of the private sector saying: Yes. Pass these laws. Yes, equal rights laws are good for business. That would be very powerful. And then we absolutely need the leadership from everyone on the implementation side.

VOGELSTEIN: Well, a widespread prescription for action there.

Diana, please.

FARRELL: So I agree with everything you said. And I do think the private sector has a huge role to play in both sort of being an ally of these laws, as opposed to trying to block them lock, stock and barrel, or, you know, squirm around them. But I guess with—you know, here are a couple of thoughts that I’ve had on this issue for a while. So instead of being comprehensive, let me try and share some things that—some of which you may know, some of which you may not have fully come to yet.

So the first one I know you have, which is really important, which is the culture of a place. And in a—you just—I mean, the Harvey Weinstein stuff was just so outrageous that you don’t even know where to start with that. But I would say even in other, you know, otherwise very values-driven organizations, et cetera, there has to be a culture of just stop, even in conversation, when something is going the wrong way. And that’s got to be set at every level. And you know, I know that—I like to think that I’ve often been that, but I know I’ve also been guilty of allowing something to slip by because I wanted to get to the other thing. And the thing is you’ve got to stop it right there, the thing that’s unacceptable. It’s not, you know, whatever. So there’s a cultural element. And I have seen—you know, I now have started up three different centers. There is something about having women at the top that sets a different culture, because the expectation is that people will react differently. So I think that it’s about men and women together absorbing that. So that’s an obvious point.

I think there’s a big role to play—and I know not everyone will agree with me, not in the private sector maybe not in this room—with the—with the celebrating and shaming people who don’t do it. Some of you may be aware that a friend of mine runs this website that’s called Gender Avenger. And it’s a very simple concept. But what she does and what they do is they go around the world looking at rosters of conferences that are typically public. And, you know, note—as we always do—that, you know, for any level of expertise—although we have women in almost every level of expertise—the number of women that show up on the rosters of these conferences are very small. And so just take a picture and put them up. And, you know, it has happened now—I’ve seen it in three different instances where people are like, I don’t want to be on that list, so fix it.

And, you know, you start asking the question off where are the women with this expertise, and you will find them. And I would bring that over to the private sector workplace. The number of times that the people are considering a new role or promotion or something that needs to get done, and the list of candidates is five men. You know, you’ve got to ask the question, really, you can’t surface a single woman that we can at least consider? Now, you know, we shouldn’t pick the women just because—if she’s really not qualified. But it’s the just question has to be asked. It has to be asked about women. It has to be asked about minorities, I think. And again, some people get comfortable with that—uncomfortable with that. I don’t think we’re going to get material change until those conversations happen at every one of those decision points within the private sector—laws or no laws—because those are more nuanced kind of conversations.

There’s something that’s just happened in New York City, Oregon and Washington state, I think, which is critical to making progress on at least the wage issue, which is that only a handful of states—and the three I just mentioned which just put these laws forward—prohibit you from—you, as an employer, from asking about previous salary. And some people think that’s wrong, because of course I should know what the—what you’re worth in the marketplace. But what that really does is it locks into a pattern of discrimination, because if you’re a top college graduate and you get into your first job where women are paid 77 cents on the dollar, then your next job is always going to tee-off that, as opposed to saying, as companies should, what is the value of the seat? We need this role fulfilled. What are we willing to pay? Let’s go out and find that person.

If that person’s qualified, we should bring them in at what we value the seat at. And so often, what happens is they’ll value the seat at 100,000 (dollars), let’s say. Woman applicant comes in. She’s great. She wants to get hired. Next question is, OK, so what’s your current compensation? Answer is 80(,000 dollars). And they’re like, great, we’ll give you 82(,000 dollars). As opposed to value of the seat is 100(,000 dollars). That woman’s qualified. She should get paid 100(,000 dollars). Just because of history. Now, a lot of people don’t like this because they say, you know, we need a market test of value. But if the market is distorted, then we’re never going to fix the distortion in the market. So I applaud these laws. And, you know, in that case, I think that, you know, companies are going to do it because they don’t want to break the law. I’m not sure how many would be doing it just, you know, on the grounds that if there’s room to be—if there’s room for some growth, as people say, they would leave it on the table. So those are a couple of things that I think are important micro interventions that will make a difference. But they have to be done.

VOGELSTEIN: So from the macro and the global to the micro and the local, there’s clearly a lot of work to be done here on all levels. Well, I’d like to open the discussion to your questions. I know there’s a lot of expertise in the room on this issue. Please raise your placard, state your name and affiliation, and we’ll get to as many as we can.

Yes, please. You’re actually all on. There you are.

Q: Sorry. Diana, can we go back to the slide that you showed, please? The one that said— sort of separated by age group what the— what the income disparity was? I mean, I was interested because Jody told us that on average, you know, women earn 77 cents on the dollar. I don’t think it’s apples to apples comparison, but approximately 25— you know, women’s assets were 25 percent below. Does that— you know, does that map to the years of lower pay or are there many other factors involved?

FARRELL: There are lots of factors involved. And so I don’t— and, you know, what— in this data, what we see are really just kind of the outcomes, not exactly what’s driven you there. But I think there’s a huge legacy issue. There are— there are breaks in employment that, you know, tend to reset, and often below what would otherwise be. There are, in the case of particularly older women in poverty divorces that hit women much, much harder. And in many states, divorce arrangements that really disfavor women, especially if they were, you know, not participating in the workforce as long—or, at the same time, which was true for all the women who are today, you know, in their 70s—more true for them.

So I think there are a lot of factors. But I think what was interesting about kind of our outcomes was kind of holding constant this already very big discrepancy in incomes. And within the quintiles and within age groups we still have these disruptions.

HEYMANN: I’m just going to add just one quick note there. This is probably true globally. I don’t think we know for sure globally. It is for sure true in the U.S. data. The biggest gap in gender pay happens after women have children. So we haven’t had a big conversation about that yet today, but there’s a huge motherhood penalty. And if we had shown the maps on U.S. policies there, 187 countries have paid maternity leave. The United States doesn’t. Papua New Guinea, Suriname, a few small South Pacific island states and the U.S.—that’s it. We do very little on child care zero to three or pre-primary. So far behind in that area. And a much greater pay gap for women with children than women without children.

FARRELL: You know, Jody, I would add to that another aspect of this, which is really interesting, which is aside from kind of the laws, if you look at the benefits that are sort of dictated by law in many cases, they tend to be framed around—I don’t think intentionally but just by default—around things that more likely benefit men than women. So as an example, unemployment insurance is an extremely effective policy tool for periods of short-term unemployment. And we’ve done a bunch of work in that areas in the institute to demonstrate that in terms of forestalling the consumption declines that would come if you lose your job right away, and creating real havoc—like, you can’t pay your mortgage and you can’t pay for what is really just a temporary break in income—it’s just very effective at bridging people when they’ve have that.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that today only 25 percent of eligible people are actually collecting unemployment insurance. Why? Because on the one hand states are putting, you know, pretty onerous requirements for this, for that. But a lot of it has to do with the fact that those criteria were put in place in a very different economy, when people had, you know, one steady job and they could demonstrate a W-2 form for X number of months, or in this over a year. They have to have a record of constant employment for a year. So if you are an independent contractor, if you are taking some different kind of job arrangement—especially around time of having kids, et cetera—you don’t qualify for unemployment insurance, according to many states.

And that is a problem not just for women, because it’s true for men who are increasingly independent contractors and other forms of employment. But it hits women more because women, you know, dominate in that space. I would say that if you went through many of the policies—I just used one, unemployment insurance—you’d find that bias, that by and large they’re really sort of—just like we have with, you know, drug research. Drug research kind of takes as the staple, like, average white male. (Laughs.) And it disadvantages everyone who doesn’t fit that profile. I think many of our policies do too. Now, there are some that are targeted specifically to women, but I would say that’s not where the money is anyway.

VOGELSTEIN: That’s certainly true I think globally as well, about the concentration of women in the informal economy, women who may be unreached even by some of the laws that are on the books.

Q: (Off mic)—a little bit. This is the Boston Fed—yeah, yeah, yeah. (Off mic.) (Laughter.)

FARRELL: It’s a great story.

VOGELSTEIN: A lot of work to do, yes. Please.

Q: Thank you for your leadership in organizing this.

You know, I had the privilege of growing up with three sisters. And the message and the information you presented today really resonates with me. How do you—how do you project this message to men who are not—how do you engage men who are not receptive to these kind of messages, and how best to engage them for them to kind of embrace and better understand, and be more receptive to what you’re trying to achieve?

VOGELSTEIN: Certainly we could start by talking about the economic imperative here that they both discussed. The thoughts on the involvement of—

HEYMANN: Do you want to go first? Because you did a great study on this.

FARRELL: Sure, sure.

You know, I think there’s a case to be made—and it has been made by some—MGI, McKinsey Global Institute, others—about sort of what’s being left on the table. And I think for a lot of rationally minded people, that’s actually a good conversation. But I don’t think that this issue is ultimately a particularly rational one. And I don’t think that that is the most compelling way to talk about it. So where I have seen pivot change, say, in my professional life, is really when I have seen—this is sad to say—either men who are married to women who are actively participating in the workforce, so they have a very visceral, empathetic view of what they’re dealing with, or even more powerfully older men whose young college graduates or daughters start just seeing it. So that’s just me, is that this is—we can throw—and I do, because this is what I for a living—all the facts and figures and everything you want. But this has got to be about hitting the empathy button somehow because without that we won’t get there, I don’t think. So I don’t know if that’s consistent with what you think. You have to do both, right?

HEYMANN: I actually love this fact, because I thought with all your great work on this you were going to give the economic argument and I’d give the value-based argument. But since you started with the value-based, I’ll give the economic.

You know, I think it would help, I think this is something that a lot of people in the room can do—I think I’d help for men who get it, who care about it, to actually start saying: Guess what? Our incomes will go up too if we do this right. So in other words, women have made that argument because the data’s behind it, that national incomes go up, that family household incomes go up, of course. But still, there’s so much of that sense that this is not win-win but it’s win-lose. And if you go back, this is across political party. Labor unions in the United States were making this argument a century ago, that if women got equal pay men’s pay would go down. We need men as well as women to just day by day, when this comes up says, guess what, we want equal pay for women too, because our family’s pay—our family’s take-home money is going to be bigger. Our country’s tax base is going to be bigger. Our companies are going to be more competitive. And speaking out.

VOGELSTEIN: Economic argument, also a values-based argument.

HEYMANN: But made by men as well as women. (Laughter.)

VOGELSTEIN: Indeed. Indeed.


Q: One of the issues covered in one of the early slides was social class, and that was an area where the U.S. was not offering the kinds of protections against discrimination that some other countries. How is that term defined or measured? That struck me as a somewhat unusual categorization for the kind of analysis that you’re doing.

HEYMANN: Sure. I’m glad you raised that, because it does—when we started to look at this, it does feel unusual from a U.S. perspective, because we never think of that as a basis for protecting from discrimination. But actually, most—many countries do this. And we have another study, this is in labor law, but many countries do it in their constitutions. We include any term that countries use. So social class, social position, caste. The range of terms used is wide. I think what’s crucial for us to understand is that an enormous amount of discrimination does happen based on class. And in the U.S. case, this gets mixed with racial and ethnic discrimination too.

And I’ll just give one concrete example. If you look at some of these studies that have looked at hiring discrimination raced on racial and ethnic groups, it’s that mix because low-income African-Americans have different average names for their children than high-income African-Americans. And low-income whites use different names on average—if you look at where the bulk of the first names are—than high-income. So there is this class bias. There’s a class bias in the CV. When the CV says that I played basketball or it says I like lacrosse and sailing. So there are all sorts of class triggers that have absolutely nothing to do with the job and that laws can protect against discrimination in.

Now, the CV’s where it’s most obvious that you can test it, but as I say this comes in place a lot in the hiring. I’ll change hats for a minute now from center director to being UCLA dean. One of the things I’m most thrilled about—UCLA is not only one of the top-ranked universities globally, of the top publics, but it’s also one of the top ranked for social mobility. So more than 40 percent of our entering undergraduate class, neither parent went to college. So you can see, when there are all sorts of cues that people give when they go on the job market for the first time that are class-based. And some countries make an effort not to discriminate against it. And we could learn from them.


Q: Thank you. I’m currently engaged in the political reform sphere, so this has been fascinating. My question is really about—more based on my experience in the corporate sector. I spent the last 14 years at Apple, and was responsible for hiring. And I heard a really great frame while I was working there, which was instead of saying that women or people of color are underrepresented, say that they’re uninvited. And I loved that idea. It puts the onus on the inviter. And I wonder where you’ve seen successful initiatives to do that inviting, whether it’s in an organization or a corporation or a university, and where that’s made a difference?

VOGELSTEIN: You both have been in a range of different sectors and it would be great to hear your experience there.

FARRELL: That’s great. I like that frame. It reminds me, and it probably shouldn’t—and I don’t know if I should share this—but it reminds me of something I read recently around, you know, we always say how many—how many women have been assaulted, not how many men have assaulted women. And the statistics are all reporting one way or the other way. And it matters. (Laughs.)

So, anyway, I think that most of the corporate exposure I’ve had is still in the frame of underrepresented. Although, I think that, you know, I certainly at McKinsey, at JPMorgan Chase, there’s a lot of attention to it, a lot of energy that’s put into trying to move the needle on some of these issues. And, I don’t know, I’m more hopeful than I’ve been—than I probably was for the earlier part of my career, because I think the conversation’s gotten much more nuanced now. And I think, you know, Sheryl Sandberg’s sort of “lean-in” foundation and—who are currently working with McKinsey. They just put out a report. If you haven’t seen it, it’s kind of worth it. It’s really kind of getting under the obvious stuff, in terms of, like, unconscious bias and how we promote diversity training to help people hear the things they say that make someone feel uninvited, et cetera.

So I think we’re getting to a level of conversation now that is nuanced enough that it might actually have more chance of working. But I think it’s precisely that framing change that you’re talking about that is what’s needed. If we just kind of keep at the same way of framing it, we’re not going to get any better results.

HEYMANN: I have a—I have a very concrete piece we do at UCLA. A number of universities do. I think it works. It’s exactly to your point of uninvited. And that is, we focus a lot on how many people get into the room for the first round of interviews for faculty and other top leadership positions. If you don’t get past that then, yes, we will never equalize employment. And it’s—there’s an enormous impact by making sure that the search strategy’s effective enough and equal enough to get everybody invited into that first round.

VOGELSTEIN: Strategies.

Q: (Off mic.)

VOGELSTEIN: That’s a great question, and perhaps one for its own roundtable. (Laughter.) So thank you for that great suggestion. I’m going to give our speakers a chance to respond on the motherhood penalty. Is there a way to legislate around that, as well as the other issue that Yasmin (sp) raised?

FARRELL: Well, I don’t think we need to tell this, Yasmin (sp), if you run a gender policy area, but the—I mean, just as simple as starting with childcare is not a women’s problem. Childcare is a societal problem. And we in this country are in—so in the dark ages as it comes to how we think about that. And the burden that is placed on women to figure out what and how, and how to pay for it, and how to deal with the disruptions that come from that. But I think there are many more—and other countries have done many more interesting things—but if you don’t even have that first line of defense, you know, the rest of this, I think, follows from it.

VOGELSTEIN: And what about pregnancy and parenting discrimination, which is really under discussion at state and local and also national levels?

HEYMANN: So I’ll just—because I know there are a number of people that want to get a word in—I’ll just give one quick story, that I think is a story of optimism, both about global reach and about the ability to move these things, even in difficult circumstances.

So, maternity. We released some data—a study last year showing that paid material leave not only had the economic and equality benefits, that we know, but that it lowered infant mortality. We got a Google notice that it was being cited by two senators in the Philippines, who used this, together with our data that the Philippines was behind, to double the length of maternity leave in the Philippines from 60 to 120 days. So what do I take home from that story? I take home that all of us, in our groups, have a kind of reach as a global community that we didn’t used to have. We do when we put out data. We do when select data. That it is about mobilization—mobilization by civil society groups and by policymakers and policy leaders. And the question is, how do we all work together so that the evidence base can get, in a useful way, to people who are trying to make policy change that will lead to impacted lives?

VOGELSTEIN: Well, there’s nothing like closing on a hopeful note. (Laughter.) And I see that we’re close to the end of our session. So for those of you we didn’t get to, please feel free to come up. But I’d really like to thank both of our speakers today for illuminating some of the challenges, but also opportunities, in this area. So please join me in thanking Jody and Diana for being here. (Applause.) Thank you.


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