Knowledge Center

Vital Signs—Testing Popular Assumptions: We Can’t Find Qualified Women

Common explanations abound for why women have not advanced at the same rate as men in the workplace. These explanations often rely on popular assumptions about women—for example, that women aren’t committed, that they lack ambition, that they leave the workplace for home – and these become the lens through which people explain what is happening in their own organizations. Too often, such explanations become a substitute for real analysis.

This tool provides guidance on responding to the most common assumptions encountered when tackling gender diversity in the workplace with specific actions that you can take to test those assumptions with real data and probing questions.

We start with one of the assumptions we most commonly hear—that there aren’t enough qualified women—and give you three steps you can take to evaluate its validity in your workplace. We’ll address other popular assumptions in the future and look forward to learning which assumptions you hear most often.