I had to leave a bit early from WorkHuman. Thanks to the amazing attendees, I was able to follow along with the rest via Twitter. Geena Davis spoke and then participated in a fireside chat which is amazing. But I wanted more. I started digging in more on the work of the Geena Davis Institute (GDIGM) and all I can say is “Damn Geena!”

I first learned about about the GDIGM after one of their folks spoke at a Women in Tech event I attended years ago. The research findings fascinated me then and now. It has made me look at movies, TV, and commercials in a different way.

The most recent example that I can think of is the movie Jumanji. Yes, the cast was diverse. Points for that. However, the female character calls out that she is wearing a half shirt and shorts in the jungle. Her male counterparts are all wearing more appropriate attire for the jungle. She mentions the stupidity of making a woman dress in sexy clothes, even when it isn’t appropriate. The Institute’s research creates awareness of how movies differ from reality. Yes, it was good the character said it was stupid, but why did it need to happen in the first place?

Research We Can Use

GDIGM’s research doesn’t just create awareness. It also provides ways that the media can do better. So what does this have to do with a conference on how we can be better humans? The research being done by the GDIGM could apply to every company’s diversity programs. It can also be great to consider in your employee branding. This absolutely fits with the WorkHuman focus on humans.

Now, there is a ton of research that the GDIGM has done over the years. Their entire website has all kinds of tools and tips we can use. One list included ideas on how to create a better representation of women. I have listed the idea from GDIGM first and then added how it would apply to HR in italics.

Consider This:

  • Do I include an equal number of men and women STEM characters? Is there equal representation of men and women in tech roles across your org?
  • Do I prominently feature women of color in STEM careers? Is there representation of women of color in tech roles in your org?
  • For women STEM characters, do I actually show them working in their profession? Are women in tech roles featured on our careers page or in our recruiting materials in an authentic way?
  • Do I avoid the stereotypical plotline that women have to sacrifice their personal lives in order to advance their STEM careers? Are we thoughtful about offering benefits and work/life integration tools for our entire employee population ie. Parental leave vs. maternity leave?

These are ideas we all need to keep in mind as employers. We need to consider how we can do better internally for our employees. We also need to be aware of how our brand shows up externally to potential employees.

The lessons we learn at WorkHuman, through the speakers and interactions during the conference, is that humans matter. The human is the most important thing to any business. The Geena Davis Institute gets that too and is not just talking the talk. They are walking the walk.

#IfSheCanSeeItSheCanBeIt #inclusionmatters #WorkHuman

Picture from the GDIGM website.