The Problem: Framing Diversity Issues as “Women’s (or Other Groups’) Issues”

Why is this problematic?

This statement frames the issue or problem as a "women's issue" or as an issue only relevant for particular underrepresented groups -- as something that is primarily important for these groups or special "help" that these groups "need."

What does the research say?

Change efforts should not be delegated to minority group members; majority group members also need to take ownership for these efforts. All groups stand to benefit from changing or expanding existing norms; therefore, we need all hands on deck.

While it's true that family responsibilities still tend to fall more heavily on women, and women are more likely to leave because of competing responsibilities, times are changing. Men are participating more in childcare and express desire to be involved parents, but often feel even less able than women to utilize work policies that enable greater family involvement.

"Free choice" is not always as "free" as it seems. Women may "choose" between family and career because they have few alternatives. When partners share family responsibilities equally, women frequently make different "choices."

Also, the existing "choices" available vary a great deal when considering race, class, sexual orientation and ability.


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