Starting in the Classroom, Men and Women Learning to Avoid the Blame Game and Work Better Together

We have previously posted about GENDER INTELLIGENCE in this LearnED story: “Great Minds Think Unalike: Creatively Teaching Gender Diversity in the Workplace.”  Pearson has been working with the experts at the Gender Intelligence Group to create an online curriculum that teaches male and female colleagues about gender differences in the workplace called Be Gender Intelligent.

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At Work, Blaming Men or Fixing Women

“In the past, our efforts to address gender differences have often been too focused on blaming men or fixing women,” says Kendra Thomas. “That approach has not resulted in sustainable change.”

“The truth is, this isn’t about blame—it’s about leveraging differences,” she says.

Kendra is Pearson’s Vice President and Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion.

“Rather than blaming or fixing,” Kendra says, “the point to all of this is that there is a benefit to learning about the differences between how men and women engage with on another and with their jobs.”

Be Gender Intelligent is designed to address a spectrum of workplace challenges. It tackles everything from gender intelligent performance reviews to office interactions to client work to promotions to team collaboration.

“This learning is different,” Kendra says, “It is underpinned by neuroscience and borne in of very practical ways at work.”

Kendra says this process helps people get “unstuck.”

She wrote in recent blog post:

(Gender inequity) is a reality of where we find ourselves as modern workplaces, a problem that is complex and intricate, a quandary that neither men nor women alone can solve. It is also a challenge that no one company can fix, no matter how large, no matter how well-intentioned, no matter how gender intelligent. It is a collective problem, and we’re working to help offer a collective solution. 

Learning that Pays Off

The Gender Intelligence Group, led by Barbara Annis, reports that learning about gender intelligence actually helps a company’s bottom line:

“A leading credit card services company saw collections increase by 85-percent through changes in the way its call center approached clients.”

“A west coast technology company increased the percentage of women on their sales team and saw the revenue with their small and medium size accounts grow by $850 million.”

“A well-known financial services firm saw increased retention of female clients through using more gender intelligent language.”

Behaviors That Begin in the Classroom

“The research into gender intelligence is not just about men and women at work,” Kendra says. “It’s also about how boys and girls learn in a classroom setting.”

“A boy student might be staring into space, looking out a window,” Kendra says. “Teachers might respond negatively to that this might just be his brain recharging. He may need that time to look out the window so that he can learn more effectively.”

Advice to Parents

“It all begins with the understanding that our brains are different,” Kendra says. “Ask kids about how they’re thinking and feeling, as opposed to expecting them to see or behave in the world the way you see or behave in the world.”

“It’s about not trying to force young students into a tight box—and making our learning for them as flexible and agile as possible.”