Knowledge Center

Engaging in Conversations About Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the Workplace

Having meaningful conversations about gender, race, and ethnicity in the workplace—communicating across differences—is important. To do so successfully, we need to acknowledge—and work through—roadblocks (i.e., beliefs, attitudes, or experiences) that can stifle progress. Learning how to surmount these obstacles takes practice, attention, and most importantly, intention.

In this tool, we describe several roadblocks and list actions you can take to start doing things differently now. The actions are divided into two categories:

  • Start a Conversation: Sometimes it’s hard to know how to broach a subject related to gender, race, or ethnicity. Use these conversation starters to open the door to somebody else’s perspective.
  • Pay Attention: Simply building a better awareness of how you experience your own gender, race, and ethnicity, and looking out for how others might experience theirs, can give you insight into these issues and help you understand why it’s so important to discuss them.

The tool also lays out some basic Conversation Ground Rules that will help you become more likely to have conversations that increase mutual respect, insight, and knowledge.

How to cite this product: Catalyst. Engaging in Conversations About Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the Workplace. New York: Catalyst, 2016.