Are These The Right Questions To Ask About Gender Equality In The Workplace?

Continuing the conversation.

After posting a series of questions on LinkedIn about gender equality in the workplace, venture capital investor and A Plus founder Ashton Kutcher held a question and answer session on Facebook Live alongside Effie Epstein, a fellow partner at Sound Ventures, to discuss the feedback to his initial post and solicit more.



In an effort to keep the conversation going and as a prelude to our upcoming "Mind The Gap" series, A Plus is now reposting his second LinkedIn post on the topic, below.

Thanks everyone who joined our Facebook Live session. 

Here are a couple of questions I would love feedback on to frame the ongoing conversation around gender equality in the workplace:

  • What are best practices to proactively create gender, racial, ethnic, and age diversity in organizations and ensure a diverse community is valued, bad behaviors are not normalized and better decisions are made?
  • Unconscious bias is real. What questions do we need to ask ourselves and each other to make sure we become aware of biases we didn't even know we had? What are the objective processes / systems / policies we can put in place to overcome unconscious biases in our work (especially when it comes to hiring and funding)?
  • We need to get more funding into great businesses that are founded by women. How do we help female entrepreneurs through the fundraising process from getting access to capital to telling the right story to negotiating competitive terms?
  • How can we improve recruiting processes to tap into underrepresented communities in tech (women, people of color)? How can we invest in underrepresented communities long term?
  •  How can Silicon Valley learn from other growing tech hubs — New York, Houston, Atlanta, and DC — who are employing 1.5-3.3 times the number of people of color than Silicon Valley? How can the United States learn from other countries which are doing a far better job of closing the gender gap? 
  • How do we make sure that every voice is heard once we've made hires and make it easy to report bad behavior? 

Questions specific to Sound Ventures and venture capital firms:

  • How can Sound Ventures and other VCs expand their network to proactively engage a more diverse pool of talent and ideas? Where should we be looking and who should we be talking to?
  • What are the questions VCs should be asking around diversity to the companies they're investing in?
  • How do we build a safe feedback loop for entrepreneurs to share feedback with investors throughout and following the fundraising process?
  • What's the best way to hold VCs accountable for diversity among their portfolios?
  • Are these the right questions? And how do we create safe environments for people to find their way to asking the right questions?

Thank you to everyone who helped me reframe this issue. Notably Julie Cordua, Laura Hertzfeld, Cate Mathews, Ashley Granata, Maaria Bajwa, Kathleen Flaherty, Effie Epstein, Mark Benioff, Mila Kunis, and all of you!

One of the goals of our Q&A on gender equality in the workplace was to aggregate a list of resources for women, men, and corporations to get smarter on this issue. Any great change starts with education and awareness. Below are some of the highlights of the feedback we received. 

I also recommend Cynthia Schames' Medium post, which contained some great constructive feedback following my misguided launch that anyone who cares about this issue can execute on.

Tools and platforms to uncover blind bias:

Lastly, this topic is scary to talk about. You are going to say the wrong thing and you will be vilified for it. Don't let it stop you from wading into these waters and learning how to swim. You would rather be hit by a wave while swimming with the current than never see the wave coming and have it take you out. If your heart is in the right place, people will be willing to educate you.

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