The Last 6.2 Miles: The Work Remaining to Achieve Gender Equity in Professional Service Firms

Arin N. Reeves
November 2013

If achieving gender equity in professional service firms is a marathon, the easy miles are behind us and the miles that stretch ahead of us are the ones that will truly test the depth of our commitment. Across virtually every industry, professional services firms (that are not female-owned) struggle with gender equity in their partnership ranks. They have achieved great success hiring talented women, but our research and work in law firms, consulting firms, technology service firms, architecture firms, marketing/advertising firms, etc., consistently shows that success in hiring women into junior positions does not translate into success in advancing them to partnership and leadership.

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  • America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.

    Louis D. Brandeis
  • To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

    Tony Robbins
  • Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation.

    Mahatma Gandhi
  • One must even beware of too much certainty that the answer to life's problems can only be found in one way and that all must agree to search for light in the same way and cannot find it in any other way.

    Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.

    Walter Lippmann
  • Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.

    Malcolm Forbes
  • Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.

    Thomas Jefferson
  • There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity.

    Michel de Montaigne
  • When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.

    Charles Evan Hughes
  • Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences.

    Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Differences challenge assumptions.

    Anne Wilson Schaef
  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs.

    Leo Tolstoy
  • Wit lies in recognizing the resemblance among things which differ and the difference between things which are alike.

    Madame De Stael
  • I not only use all the brains that I have, but all I can borrow.

    Woodrow Wilson
  • It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.

    Albert Einstein
  • Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth.

    Theodore Roosevelt
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity.They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • Controversial' as we all know, is often a euphemism for 'interesting and intelligent.

    Kevin Smith
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity. They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.

    Audre Lorde
  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • The biggest mistake is believing there is one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation -- or a relationship.

    Deborah Tannen
  • Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.

    Isaac Asimov
  • Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.

    James Surowiecki
  • The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.

    Albert Einstein
  • The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Diversity creates dimension in the world.

    Elizabeth Ann Lawless