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Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management

Trickle-down & Bottom-up Effects on Workplace Gender Diversity

Jan 16, 2024

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Despite a significant increase in women’s participation in its labour force, Canada remains far from achieving workforce gender parity across organizational hierarchies. Critics argue that existing HR strategies to increase women’s representation have short-term impact and serve as window dressing.

The inaugural piece for the LNC's 'Briefs & Bites' series highlights new research led by Ivey Professor Alison Konrad and her collaborators. The work suggests bringing lasting changes requires understanding existing worker-gender composition and intervention impacts at different levels of hierarchy.

They find that in industries with limited representation of women, hiring more women at the middle management (as opposed to top management) level has a significant positive effect on attracting more female employees at the lower levels. Based on their evidence, this brief provides policy direction on increasing female representation across organizational hierarchies, and delineates the important role of government in incorporating the policy lessons for wider dissemination and impact.

Read the full brief