We recognize that gender equity is a multi-faceted issue, and that The Chicago Network Equity Principles should be addressed both practically and holistically. Here, we provide ideas for organizations looking for ways to further their commitment to the Equity Principles. While there is no single formula for success that can be applied to every company or industry, consider practicing and promoting these steps toward fostering equitable workplaces with a formula for success that reflects your organization’s unique culture. To discuss these and other activation ideas, please feel free to contact us at comm@thechicagonetwork.org


Audit existing processes to address blind spots – screening resumes, conducting interviews, pay/compensation transparency, onboarding, staffing projects, mentoring programs, performance evaluations, promotion and termination. C-suite officers can also consider offering Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) trainings or hidden bias trainings company-wide, disclosing gender pay gaps and retention rates, and linking compensation with equity results.


Create and maintain environments, forums and direct feedback loops where employees feel comfortable reaching out to colleagues and senior leadership to gain a better understanding of each other’s experiences and perspectives. Conduct anonymous employee surveys company-wide to understand what specific issues might exist at your workplace. Each department or location may have different concerns. Also keep in mind, that what drives men to succeed might not drive women. Health and wellness programs for instance, have been shown to be a strong determinant of where women work.


Establish the business rationale for gender equity among colleagues, leadership, and corporate partners/allies to share and embed a common understanding within the wider business landscape. Also consider including a diversity and equity consideration in supply chain partners during business procurement processes. Diversity drives innovation, improves financial performance and helps close the gender pay gap.


Identify best practices to help employees improve performance at their current level and beyond. Clearly illustrate what is possible at the highest level of performance for a particular function within an organization.


Companies should be well equipped to help employees build the skills required to meet benchmark standards. While goal-setting encourages employees to push beyond their current performance level, it may also require additional resources to meet performance goals. For example – leveraging social media platforms, hosting lunch and learns, and conducting internal/external trainings and workshops.


In assessing employee performances, provide honest evaluations of failures and praise for successes. Performance monitoring should include milestones that allow employees time to take corrective actions before the end of the period set for reaching performance goals. Managers up and down the organization should also be measured against benchmarks.


Use data to assess the current status of gender equity in your organization and then outline your company goals in quantifiable terms. Set specific, measurable and attainable objectives and assign responsibility for driving these targets to leadership. For example – closing the gender pay gap, increasing the number of women in leadership roles, and ensuring women are equitably represented among new hires.


Track progress against the goals you outlined and communicate current figures and targets internally to leadership


Exercise transparency and share results and figures against each company goal with all staff members. Consider sharing and celebrating the company’s efforts in promoting gender equity to set an example for the wider business community.

The Chicago Network