Register Now

DiversityInc's 2016 Top 50 Announcement Dinner & Learning Sessions


April 19 | Cipriani Wall Street | New York City

Meeting in a Box: Women’s History Month

February 18, 2015 10:30 am
Women's History Month

Shirley Chisholm, Sonia Sotomayor

This Meeting in a Box tool is designed for distribution to all employees. You may use portions of it or all of it. Each section is available as a separate PDF; you can forward the entire document or link to it on DiversityInc Best Practices; or you can print it out for employees who do not have Internet access.

For Women’s History Month, we are supplying a historic Timeline of women’s achievements, Facts & Figures demonstrating women’s advancement (and opportunities) in education and business, and recent content showcasing ways women are reaching—and staying in—leadership positions. This information should be distributed to your entire workforce and also should be used by your women’s employee resource group both internally and externally as a year-round educational tool.

[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the full Meeting in a Box, our diversity-management training and educational tool available only to Benchmarking customers and DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.]


We recommend you start your employees’ cultural-competence lesson on the increasing value of having women in leadership positions by using this historic Timeline. It’s important to note how women’s roles have evolved, how flexible work arrangements allow more women to combine family and professional responsibilities, and how many glass ceilings still have not been shattered. The Timeline shown here illustrates significant dates in women’s history and major historic figures.

Discussion Questions for Employees

What have been the most significant changes in women’s roles in the past 50 years? In the past 10 years?
Ask employees why they think there has been so much rapid change and, most importantly, if it’s enough. Have women talk about their own experiences and men talk about the experiences of their wives, daughters, sisters and friends.

Why are “firsts” important to note? What other barrier breakers have you witnessed in your lifetime?
This is a personal discussion designed to help the employee note other barrier breakers historically. Cite Elizabeth Blackwell, Muriel Siebert and female CEOs. Note: There are 25 women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, including Virginia M. Rometty of IBM (No. 23 in the DiversityInc Top 50). Other Top 50 female CEOs are Christi Shaw of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (No. 1) and Beth Mooney of KeyCorp (No. 47). Cathy Engelbert will become CEO of Deloitte (No. 11) on March 11.

DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies include two Fortune 500 women CEOs—Mary T. Barra of General Motors and Ellen J. Kullman of DuPont. Debra L. Reed is CEO of Sempra Energy, one of DiversityInc’s Top 7 Utilities.

Women's History Month Timeline



After discussion of the Timeline, the next step is to review available data and understand areas in which women have made significant progress in the United States but major opportunities remain. The data we have chosen to present here represents information of relevance to corporate America, such as education (available labor pool), business ownership, and progress in gaining executive and management positions. Where applicable, national data is compared with DiversityInc Top 50 data, to show what progress the leading D&I companies are making.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Why has it been so difficult to get girls and women into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) positions and what should schools and companies do to change that?

What are the best ways to convince girls (early) of the benefits of math and science?
To see how some tech companies are working on getting girls early, go to

How do you get more women in your company interested in operational roles versus traditional support/staff roles?

Why do you think women represent less only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs?
To understand how important corporate culture is in defining a woman’s success, go to

Who do you see as the leading female role models in your company?
Have a higher-level discussion on what it takes to become a senior executive at your company, the role of resource groups and mentoring in supporting this, and what employees see as valuable ways to increase the pipeline. To understand ways to support working mothers, go to

Do women have different management styles than men? How is having a woman boss and/or mentor different?
Use this teachable moment to honestly discuss different styles, including confrontation/criticism, self-promotion/branding and decision making. For more information, go to

Women's History Month Facts & Figures



Our popular “Things NOT to Say” series includes these interviews with three women leaders about offensive phrases they’ve heard in the workplace and how best to respond to them to further cultural-competence education.

Discussion Questions for Employees

What other phrases have you heard addressed to women and others from underrepresented groups? Discuss how these phrases and stereotypes impact office morale and productivity. For more information on this topic, go to and

What role do you think the company should play when offensive comments occur?
Have the employees talk about under what circumstances they would report offensive comments and what they believe the company should do. Get advice from DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti at

After today’s lesson, what would you do if you overheard a colleague make one of these comments?
Continue the discussion with each employee having a plan of action on how to address offensive language.

Things NOT to Say to Women


[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the full Meeting in a Box, our diversity-management training and educational tool available only to Benchmarking customers and DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.]