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Using the Tools of Organizational Change in the Quest for Women’s Equality

During her time at Yale SOM, Anita Jivani ’15 brought together two threads of her professional and personal interests. An organizational change consultant, she spent more than three years working on cross-sector consulting projects with organizations such as Walmart, the World Bank, and the U.S. Olympics Committee in geographies as diverse as Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, India, and Kenya. She is also passionate about issues of gender equality, both in the developing world—her parents are from Pakistan—and in the U.S. workplace.

At Yale SOM, Jivani studied how to use market-based solutions to address social problems, including issues of economic development and women’s empowerment.

A few weeks before graduating, Jivani had the opportunity to speak at a TEDxYale, an independently organized event featuring short, powerful talks in the style of the TED Conference. In her presentation, she suggested that the tools of organizational change can help move the world toward gender equality. Today, she said, women mostly lead the discussion about how to improve the status of women, but it’s high time that more men get involved.

We know that investing in women is not just a good idea socially but makes economic sense. Just domestically here in the U.S., if we close the gender gap, we’ll improve our GDP by 9%…but oftentimes we don’t look around to see who actually has the power when it comes to issues like this. It ends up being a conversation where a lot of women are talking to a lot of women, but the reality is the people who have high influence, whether we like it or not, are men. We have this huge segment of missing men who are key change agents, and they’re sometimes not called to the table. Oftentimes they’re left on the sidelines to watch and provide some opinion. I think that’s not the approach to take. I think that men are a really exciting segment that shouldn’t just watch this, but that can help us make some real changes in moving the needle.

Watch the talk: