Two articles recently appeared in the New York Times about why more women aren't CEOs. Both this first one and the second one are worth a read. But I'd like to dwell on a small and seemingly offhand comment in the second article, the one that explores how to get more women to be CEOs. At the end of a bullet list of suggestions, the author includes, "Call out bias, but in a way that people can hear, such as asking a male supervisor to imagine how he might feel if his daughter had a similar experience."
This example - ask a male supervisor to imagine how he might feel if his daughter had a similar experience - gets to a principle of surveying that we have incorporated into the GO Benchmark Employee Survey: people respond more insightfully to questions that encourage them to step outside of their own shoes.
By asking what a daughter would think and feel - not what the man himself would think and feel - the questioner is challenging the responder to put himself of not just any woman but of a woman he loves and wants the best for. In our Employee Survey, we ask employees to evaluate what their daughters would think of their work environment. "If you had a daughter who worked here, how often would she be satisfied working for this company?" we ask. Not how satisfied is the respondent working at the company, but thinking of his daughter - perhaps even juggling children at home - how satisfied would she be with the policies and practices in place at his company?
Dads can be the best allies. In fact, men in positions of power everywhere are shown to be more sensitive to women's needs if they have daughters at home. Among judges who had one child, for instance, those who had daughters were 16% more likely to decide in favor of women’s rights. And the "daughter effect" has been shown to close the gender wage gap among companies run by dads.