University of Mannheim: Study: Representation alone is not enough for more gender diversity

The stronger representation of women and minorities in committees that determine the management staff of organizations is not enough to achieve more gender diversity, as long as a cultural change does not take place at the same time. That is the result of a recently published study.

A team of scientists led by economists Nicola Persico from Northwestern University and Bernhard Ganglmair from the University of Mannheim and the Leibniz Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) examined the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), an organization that works with the technical development and voluntary standards of the Internet.

IETF operational managers are appointed by a ten-person selection committee, the so-called NomCom. The NomCom members themselves are chosen at random from a pool of volunteers each year. “In the case of the IETF, women were appointed more and more when cultural norms that promote diversity and inclusion came to the fore,” the researchers write.

“Our results are highly relevant for the current discussion on women’s quotas in political parties or in company management. They make it clear how important it is to pay attention to cultural norms, ”summarizes Ganglmair. “A stronger participation of women must go hand in hand with a change in the overall organization”.

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