Business Insider’s Matt Serna recently spoke with a small but influential group of business minds about why they think business owners should keep quiet about gender issues in their business.1.
You’re more likely to be targeted for your gender identity than you think, and you’re less likely to feel comfortable in your own skin when talking about gender.
“The reason I think the business community is a little less comfortable in its own skin is because of the gender divide,” said Chris Hogg, the CEO of The Company and a founder of the online retailer Shopify.
“So it’s very much about the gender gap.
When you are at a place where you’re not perceived as being at least as well-liked as your male peers, then you’re really less likely or more scared of being seen as an outsider.”2.
If you’re worried about the stigma of talking about your gender, then it’s harder to stay silent.
“People are much more aware of their own gender than they are of the difference between men and women,” said Sernabels.
“People are really much more open about being who they are and what they are about.
So they don’t really feel like they have to hide their gender in order to do business.”3.
Women are more likely than men to use a business card to identify themselves as women.
“I think it’s been a very strong indicator of women’s success,” said Jessica Staley, the founder of Saks Fifth Avenue.
“I think people are more comfortable saying that they are a woman and are trying to be a part of the solution, rather than a part-time job that they have, or a part time job that is just doing what they do.”4.
Women make up a disproportionate number of CEOs, as they’re the ones in charge of the entire business.
“Women CEOs are the ones who have been leading the way in the last two or three decades,” said Sarah Bierut, the former president of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Center.
“Women CEOs have been in business for 20 years, and they have been leaders, they have run businesses that have had a positive impact on people’s lives.”5.
You can be as inclusive as you want, but it’s more difficult to get your message across when you’re afraid of what people might think.
“You’re more often going to be more effective if you have a message that is inclusive and honest,” said Hogg.
“But you also want to be careful that you don’t go too far in a negative way.”6.
If it’s difficult to be in a room full of people who aren’t like you, then maybe the message is not being heard.
“A lot of times when I talk to people, they’re so negative that they’re not going to believe what I’m saying because they don