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Fighting for Gender Equality During a Crisis


Today I get to talk with a wonderful person about a wonderful topic: fighting for gender equality during a crisis. I bring you Romy Newman, co-founder and president at FairyGodBoss.

What is FairyGodBoss? Well, Romy tells us that it is the largest career community for women. Founded 5 years ago, the platform aims to be an essential resource for women managing their careers.

Fantastic, right? Let’s rock and roll.



We’re managing an economic crisis. With more layoffs that will happen in the immediate future, for the business leaders about to make that hard decision. How do they think about gender equality?

I am a big believer that it’s critical to consider diversity, especially in regard to business performance reasons. A diverse workplace has better dynamics and performance.

A study released by Great Place to Work, showed that during the last recession, companies that practiced inclusion and diversity outperformed their peers. They had stock price growth of 14%, where the others were down by 35%.

That said, now is the time to invest in diversity. Not only for human rights reasons but also for business success and performance. If you can’t invest in hiring right now, and you need to make cuts, you also have to keep an eye on your diversity.


Thinking about the strides that have been made over the past few years, that have been lost. What advice can we give to those that haven’t made cuts? Or how to get the attention and actions back to where they need to be?

Starting this with a fun, but sad fact: In 2018, more men were appointed as a Fortune 500 CEO named Jeffrey than there were women. What can be done now? There are things that can be done that cost nothing and can be done during cuts or hiring freezes.

First, make sure your company decision-maker representation is diverse. Second, continually re-evaluate your employee base. Even when you’re making fast decisions make sure that diversity is considered. You can even pipeline talent and nurture relationships before hiring begins, so you’re ready. Last, look at your employee engagement and try to give a voice to those that may not have it. You should also take a real look at how your company is adding value during this time.

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Is diversity a destination or is it more of a journey?

World Economic Forum said (pre-COVID) that we were 200 years away from true gender equality. My life’s work is about accelerating that timeline. I refer to my daughter, who is 6 years old. I won’t see equality in my lifetime, but what will need to happen in order for her to experience it in hers?


Should leaders look at layoffs proportionately? If you’re laying off 10,000 people, how do you make that decision and still keep D&I in the back or even forefront of your mind?

The question to ask is really, do business leaders believe that diversity drives business results? I’m not sure everyone does yet, but it can be a real competitive advantage. There’s a stat from McKinsey that diverse companies perform 35% better than companies that are not.

If you went to any CEO and said: “I have a secret tactic that can make your company perform 35% better, would you be interested in it?” Who wouldn’t be? So I do that, I say that. After years of investing in diversity, losing it will negatively impact company performance.

So…let’s not do that.


Don’t miss the rest of the conversation! Other highlights include:

  • How we might assess our success or failure post-COVID.
  • Will this crisis expose those who really believe in gender equality, or don’t?
  • What Microsoft is doing to help their impacted workforce in dealing with extended school closures, and helping to create equality in the home.

Romy also leaves us with a little advice:

Take this time to reach out to give some advice. Support and mentorship are scarce at this moment, and I think that we have to make sure everyone is ok. Ask how are you feeling, how are you managing? So, pick up the phone and talk to someone you don’t talk to all the time is more important than ever.

I couldn’t agree more.

Tune in, and let us know what you think! If you missed the previous episode, Dane Hurtubise of Greenhouse and I discuss the Textio and Greenhouse integration, and why it’s such a game-changer!

The RecruitingDaily Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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