New Barbie dolls feature vitiligo and hairless models in bid to boost diversity

barbie diversity 2

The maker of Barbie dolls has released new designs to broaden the diversity of its range, including a doll with no hair and one with the skin condition vitiligo.
Mattel, the company behind the popular toy, said in a statement that the brand wants to showcase “a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion” through new additions to its Barbie Fashionistas line.
Viitiligo causes patches of skin to lose their pigment. Mattel said in a statement that a prototype of the vitiligo toy, which debuted on the Barbie Instagram page last year, became its most “liked” post ever.
Speaking of the Barbie with no hair, the company said: “If a girl is experiencing hair loss for any reason, she can see herself reflected in the line.”

Last year, a doll with a prosthetic leg and another with a wheelchair joined the Fashionistas range.
The company has expanded its range of dolls with prosthetic limbs, adding another model this year to its collection.
To create its first doll with a prosthetic limb, Mattel worked with Jordan Reeves, a disability activist then aged 12, who was born without a left forearm.
Other dolls in the 2019 Fashionistas line offered a variety of appearances, including braided hair texture and more realistic body types (smaller bust, less defined waist and more defined arms).

Mattel has incorporated more diversity in its Barbie range by offering dolls with different skin shades, eye colors, hairstyles and clothing. In 2017, the company introduced the first Barbie to wear a hijab.
The two bestselling Barbie Fashionista dolls in the UK last year were in wheelchairs, the company said.
After starting in 2015, the Barbie Fashionistas line now has more than 170 “diverse dolls” in its range. Previously, Barbie dolls have drawn criticism for upholding a slim, white, domestic ideal.

Goldman to Refuse IPOs If All Directors Are White, Straight Men

goldman diversity

The era of the white, all-male board is coming to an end.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Solomon issued the latest ultimatum Thursday from Davos. Wall Street’s biggest underwriter of initial public offerings in the U.S. will no longer take a company public in the U.S. and Europe if it lacks a director who is either female or diverse. Asia is not yet included in the firm’s new policy.

The mandate is the latest in a series of signals that non-diverse boards and management are unacceptable. BlackRock Inc. and State Street Global Advisors are voting against directors at companies without a female director. Public companies with all-male boards based in California now face a $100,000 fine under a new state law.

“It’s what big investors are looking for these days,” said Fred Foulkes, a management professor at the Boston University Questrom School of Business. “If the board has all white males, that’s a big negative.”

Goldman Sachs acknowledged that “diversity” has other meanings around the world — including in Asia, where racial dynamics are different and gender disparities are sometimes even more glaring. The company said in a statement Friday that it intends to eventually expand its board-diversity mandate beyond the U.S. and Europe.

The corporate board has become a rare bright spot for gender and racial diversity at the highest echelons of corporate America. Almost half of the open spots at S&P 500 companies went to women last year, and for the first time they made up more than a quarter of all directors. In July, the last all-male board in the S&P 500 appointed a woman.

Still, new boards are less diverse: Among the top 25 IPOs by value each year from 2014 through 2018, 10 companies had no female directors, said Malli Gero, co-founder and senior adviser to 2020 Women on Boards, an organization that pushes for the Russell 3000 index to have at least 20% women directors on its boards. Last year, Goldman Sachs was hired to underwrite WeWork’s IPO, which only added a female director after its initial prospectus prompted criticism of its all-male board.

“Starting on July 1st in the U.S. and Europe, we’re not going to take a company public unless there’s at least one diverse board candidate, with a focus on women,” Solomon told CNBC Thursday. He didn’t mention Asia, which continues to lag behind other regions when it comes to board diversity.

Next year, the bank will raise the threshold to two diverse directors, which includes diversity based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Goldman said in a statement. The bank said the decision came after it learned more than 60 U.S. and European companies in the last two years went public without a woman or person of color on the board. Goldman Sachs has four women on its 11-member board.

Among the IPOs where Goldman Sachs was an underwriter over the last two years in the U.S. and Europe, fewer than 10% currently have a board lacking a diverse candidate, the company said. Data was not available for the composition of those boards at the time of the IPO, the company said.

“We realize that this is a small step, but it’s a step in a direction of saying, ‘You know what, we think this is right, we think it’s the right advice and we’re in a position also, because of our network, to help our clients if they need help placing women on boards,’” Solomon told CNBC. “So this is an example of us saying, ‘How can we do something that we think is right and help moves the market forward?’”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. doesn’t have a similar policy to the new Goldman Sachs rule, but since 2016 has had a director advisory service that works to help companies find diverse candidates for their board, the company said in a statement. Morgan Stanley did not respond to requests for comment.

For now, Goldman’s step is “pretty amazing,” said Boston University’s Foulkes, who was previously a director at Panera Bread Co. and Bright Horizons Family Solutions. “It’s a seismic change.”

Auschwitz was liberated 75 years ago. But survivors know anti-Semitism is alive and well

auschwitz 75

It was 3 p.m. on Jan. 27, 1945, when the 322nd Rifle Division of the Soviet army entered Auschwitz, unaware of the inhumanity at the concentration camp where Nazis had killed more than 1.1 million people, the vast majority of them Jews.

Germans had abandoned the site, leaving 1.2 million pieces of clothing, 7.7 tons of human hair and other personal items stripped from prisoners. Allied soldiers came face to face with 7,000 of the weakest inmates not put on death marches — and 600 decaying corpses — as the Soviets closed in.

Exactly 75 years later, at exactly the same time, the picture was remarkably different at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi concentration camps and extermination centers.

More than 200 survivors of the most infamous Holocaust site gathered Monday before the entrance to the Birkenau camp’s “gate of death,” where cattle cars once arrived to deposit prisoners into gas chambers before their bodies were turned to ash in crematoriums.

They sat under a large, heated white tent with spotlights and big-screen TVs shining down on the train line. Once a symbol of impending death, the tracks now framed a walkway to a stage. There, former prisoners and the presidents of Poland and the World Jewish Congress thanked survivors for their perseverance and called for a renewed battle against rising global tides of anti-Semitism.

Auschwitz “did not fall from the sky,” said Marian Turski, 93, a Polish survivor of the camp. He said Auschwitz only came to be because of indifference in the world to anti-Semitism. Fears of such indifference have increased recently with growing violence against Jews in Europe and the U.S.

“We are in the factory of death,” said Polish President Andrzej Duda, a host of the ceremony. “At no other time and in no other place was extermination carried out in a similar matter.”

The commemoration at Auschwitz-Birkenau, on the outskirts of the town of Oswiecim in southern Poland, was the culminating event in a month of global Holocaust observations. They included prayers at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, last week with world leaders and government representatives of several countries, as well as observations from Los Angeles to Amsterdam.

The meeting at Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum took place five years after the last major gathering of survivors at the site.

Holocaust survivor Guenter Pappenheim

Holocaust survivor Guenter Pappenheim, seated, talks to teenagers after a ceremony at the memorial site of Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar in eastern Germany.
(Jens Schlueter /AFP/Getty Images)

That year, 300 survivors made the journey. Several have died since, and health concerns kept others from joining this time. The declining number of living survivors of the camp, which saw 1.3 million people pass through during World War II, has made this year’s observation even more important, said Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation Chairman and World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder.

“This may be the last ceremony of its kind for these heroes and victims,” Lauder said, “and one of the last times they will ever be able to speak publicly about their experiences.”

In total, about 400,000 Holocaust survivors live around the world today, according to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. About 85,000 of those are in the U.S. The numbers drop significantly for those who were at Auschwitz. There are fewer than 2,000 surviving former Auschwitz prisoners, a quarter of whom reside in the U.S.

One of them is Ben Lesser, 91, of Las Vegas, who spent several weeks in Auschwitz and also was imprisoned at Buchenwald and Dachau in Germany. He traveled to the former camp this week with his daughter, who lives in Los Angeles.

“I’m here to tell everyone to never forget,” said Lesser, who founded a Holocaust education organization, Zahor, back home. The word means “remember” in Hebrew. Watching deadly attacks on synagogues in Poway and Pittsburgh, he said he had grown more concerned about increasing hatred of Jews.

“But it’s still nowhere like the Holocaust,” he added.

That may seem like an understatement to some, but a poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center found only 45% of Americans could identify that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Meanwhile, in its most recent report, the Anti-Defamation League found the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. to be at the third-highest level in the U.S. since the ADL began keeping records four decades ago.

Gabriella Karin, who came from Los Angeles with her grandson, survived for nine months in 1944 by hiding in a home in what is now Slovakia while invading Germans searched for Jews. Nazis murdered her cousin Willy at Auschwitz when he was 17.

“Auschwitz feels similar to me like going to the cemetery,” Karin, 89, said. “It’s where I can pay my respects to the loved ones I’ve lost.”

David Lenga was forced into hard labor at Auschwitz as a teen. The 92-year-old made the journey to Poland from Woodland Hills.

“I’m not here because it is fascinating,” said Lenga. “I am going to honor the victims’ memories and to make the world aware of where we stand 75 years after. The reawakening of anti-Semitism today is frightening.”

Ralph Hakman, a 94-year-old survivor from Beverly Hills whose journey back to Poland the Los Angeles Times chronicled, said he wanted his presence to be “a reminder of what can happen when hate is allowed to take over. We have also gathered with the hope that future generations will coexist in peace.”

In addition to Duda, state officials at Monday’s ceremony included Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

But commemorations were clouded by political controversy.

Though Soviet troops liberated the concentration camp, Russian President Vladimir Putin boycotted the ceremony in Poland and instead only appeared at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem last week. Duda, who withdrew from the Israel event, has taken offense at comments by Putin in which he cast partial blame on Poland for the war. Duda has accused Putin of telling a “historical lie.” Some Poles collaborated with Nazis, but many Poles risked their lives to protect Jews. In 2018, the Polish government made referencing Polish complicity in the Holocaust a crime before backing down from the law under international pressure. It’s now a civil offense.

“Distorting the history of World War II, denying the crimes of genocide and negating the Holocaust as well as an instrumental use of Auschwitz for whatever purposes is tantamount to desecration of the memory of the victims,” Duda said in his remarks on Monday.

In an interview, Lauder, heir to Estée Lauder Cos., declined to address the political conflict. He has donated millions to advance Holocaust education since first visiting Auschwitz in 1987.

The focus, he said, should be “on these survivors who endured the very horrors that we are seeking to educate the world about today. As they share their eyewitness testimonies, the world will hear what they lived through, an unparalleled tool in Holocaust education.”

‘Forever one of us’: Kobe Bryant’s global roots

kobe global

Kobe Bryant was one of those superstars who transcend their sport, and become known simply by a single name.

At his peak, the graceful NBA legend with a competitive streak seemed to float down the court. He became a basketball, cultural and fashion icon, and was a frequent visitor to the White House, celebrating yet another championship for his Los Angeles Lakers dynasty. Presidents past and present were quick to lead tributes after the helicopter crash that claimed his life.
President Bush holds up a Los Angeles Lakers jersey that was given to him by Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, during a ceremony for the 2001 NBA World Champions, rear, in the East Room of the White House Monday, Jan. 28, 2002. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

Bryant’s aura meant he was a fixture of American life in the early years of the 21st century. That, as well as his comparative youth at the age of 41 and the shocking manner of his demise, explains why his death is resonating beyond the ranks of sports fans and why his legend will only grow.

‘Forever one of us’

News of Bryant’s death drew reactions of shock and sadness from around the world, from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.
But the news particularly rattled the small Italian city of Reggio Emilia, which claims among its most famous exports an educational philosophy, Parmesan cheese — and Bryant himself.
Bryant's 'Cantine Riunite' youth team in the early 1990's in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Bryant is in the top row, third from the left.

Forever one of us,” tweeted the city’s basketball team, with photos of a young Bryant in a local team uniform. “Kobe Bryant, a champion grown in Reggio Emilia,” read the web headline of local paper Gazzetta di Reggio.
The American basketball star wasn’t just a global figure — he himself was a product of globalization, growing up in Italy during the country’s golden age of basketball, as his father Joe played for a series of local teams. When the Bryants came to Reggio Emilia in the 1990s, everybody knew.
“We always considered the American professional players like idols,” said Davide Giudici, a former teammate and friend from Reggio Emilia. Plus, “in Italy, in that period there was no people of color, so it was very easy to recognize a big guy like Joe.”
Bryant spoke Italian fluently, and played most days of the week on the city’s youth team Cantine Riunite, named for a local winemaker of the region’s sparkling red lambrusco — an experience he famously credited as formative for his skills on the court.
“He was obviously already really good. We had a strong team, but he was better than all of us. At 11 years old, he was already very secure in his power and what he would become,” Giudici told Meanwhile.
“I mean, I think we knew he was going to become a professional basketball player. We didn’t know then that he was going to be one of the biggest stars in the world.”

Recording Academy announces new diversity initiatives in midst of Grammys scandal

grammy diversity

As the Grammys face accusations of lacking diversity and being a “boys club,” the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has announced new initiatives developed in partnership with its Diversity Task Force.

Recording Academy Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer Harvey Mason Jr. made the announcement in a message obtained by CNN which was sent to his organization’s members Sunday morning.
“Six months ago, when I put my hat in the ring to be your Chair, I did so because I believed that the Academy could do better — could be better,” Mason wrote in his message. “The music we create has always reflected the best of ourselves and our world. But what was true of music has historically not been true of the music business as a whole.”
“Too often, our industry and Academy have alienated some of our own artists — in particular, through a lack of diversity that, in many cases, results in a culture that leans towards exclusion rather than inclusion,” he added.
According to his message, the Academy has agreed to implement 17 out of 18 initiatives suggested by its Diversity Task Force — which was formed in February 2018 and “made up of distinguished individuals from outside the Academy, to take a hard, independent look at our organization specifically and the music industry as a whole.”
The initiatives include the following:
  • The Academy will hire a dedicated diversity and inclusion officer. This person will be hired within the next 90 days.
  • The organization will establish a fellowship, funded by the Academy, that will be responsible for independent review and reporting of the progress of the Academy’s diversity and inclusion efforts. This will be in place within 120 days.
  • It will create a fund to be distributed annually to different “women in music” organizations that will be managed by the diversity and inclusion officer. This will go into effect immediately.
  • The Academy will recommit to meeting all 18 of the Task Force Recommendations as outlined in the full report and in a manner that will endure, with the caveat that we will have a deeper exploration, along with the task force into voting processes for the Grammys.
The Academy is also committing to meeting with the task force to review progress on all of the suggested initiatives with the first meeting happening ​in 45 days​.
“The movement to ensure that the Academy — and the music business — is truly representative of artists and their audiences has been going on for a long time,” Mason said in his message to academy members. “And that struggle will continue, not just for women and people of color, but for members of the LGBTQ+ community, for artists struggling to make ends meet, for those suffering from addiction or mental health challenges, for people of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds, and for groups we may not even recognize today.”
The Grammys finds itself in the midst of controversy after its former CEO Deborah Dugan filed a lawsuit last week against the Academy alleging she was wrongfully fired after raising allegations of sexual harassment and irregularities with Grammy nominations.
Dugan says she was put on administrative leave three weeks after she sent an email to the Academy’s managing director of human resources outlining numerous bombshell allegations against the organization and its “historically male dominated leadership,” according to the EEOC complaint.
“The decision to put Ms. Dugan on leave was clearly made in retaliation for her complaint, and came with thinly veiled threats of termination in the event that Ms. Dugan persisted in pursuing claims against the Academy,” the lawsuit says.
The Academy said in a statement to CNN earlier that it’s “curious” that Dugan didn’t raise the allegations until legal claims were made against her by another employee who alleged she “created a ‘toxic and intolerable’ work environment and engaged in ‘abusive and bullying conduct.'”
During an appearances last week on “Good Morning America” and “CBS This Morning” Dugan described the Academy as a “boys club” and its nomination review committees as “mostly white male.”
The new diversity initiatives announcements also come after rapper/producer/mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs took the Academy to task Saturday night during his speech at Clive Davis’ legendary pre-Grammys gala.

How ‘Two Popes’ producer Dan Lin is improving diversity in Hollywood

two popes

When Dan Lin started as a creative executive at Warner Bros. in the late ’90s, diversity was not a priority at most studios.

Back then, Lin was one of three minorities in the film production group at the junior executive level, developing movies that WB top brass would consider for green-lighting.

He noticed that any time Jet Li, Ang Lee, or Jackie Chan came in for a meeting, his bosses encouraged Lin to join them.

The young executive, who is fluent in Mandarin and English, grabbed the opportunity to witness the ­decision-making process with studio execs and prominent filmmakers, and he used his language skills to help translate conversations.

Today, Lin is the most prolific and successful Asian-American producer in Hollywood, and diversity is front and center at his production company, Rideback.

Lin’s producing credits include the Lego Movie and It franchises, and his films have grossed more than $5 billion in worldwide box office. Lin recently helmed hits such as Disney’s live-action Aladdin and Oscar-nominated The Two Popes for Netflix. And he’s not slowing down. Current projects include Lethal Weapon 5 and a sequel to Aladdin.

Last year, Lin teamed up with MRC, the studio behind House of Cards and films such as Ted and Baby Driver, to create the Rideback TV Incubator, a paid residency program for mid-career TV writers from underrepresented backgrounds. Participants are paired with volunteer mentors and develop shows to pitch at cable networks and streaming services.

“This is not a charity,” Lin says. “Hollywood is a business.” He adds that the incubator will create eight shows that will be produced by Rideback and receive financial and studio support from MRC.

“We want to prove this is a new way to do business. Diversity is a good driver for profit and brings fresh perspectives to the Golden Age of Television,” he says.

Albert Cheng, COO and cohead of television at Amazon Studios, praised Lin’s approach: “Dan has broken a lot of barriers because he works hard, is focused, and has genuine humility, openness, and a desire to build and lead.”

The desire to succeed while helping others along the way was ingrained in Lin from childhood. The producer, who was born in Taiwan, immigrated to the U.S. with his parents when he was a year old.

“My way of learning about American culture was through watching movies and TV,” Lin says. “Our family and I came as immigrants, and many people helped us along the way. So when we were blessed with opportunities, we wanted to circle back to bring others along.”

After getting a BS in economics from the Wharton School in 1994, Lin worked as a management consultant before joining Universal Studios. Returning to school, he got his MBA from Harvard and eventually became senior vice president of production for Warner Bros. Pictures.

“Asians are taught to respect authority and to defer to others,” says Lin, 46. “I had to push myself to speak up in meetings and adjust to corporate America, because if I waited to speak, I would never be heard. I watched those who were successful and emulated them.”

In 2007 he left to form his own production company with an exclusive feature deal at Warner Bros. A few years later, the married father of two took his young family to a dude ranch in Montana, where he heard stories about the Old West. He was struck by conversations about how powerful community and commitment to others can be.

“The ethos of Rideback Ranch, the creative campus we’ve built here, comes from that,” Lin explains. “When a cowboy falls off his horse, you ride back to help him up. Studios emphasize quarterly earnings. Here we’re a community for artists. We collaborate and celebrate people’s wins, and we support them when they fail.”

Rideback Ranch, located in L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown, houses Lin’s production company, the Warner Animation Group, David Ayer’s Cedar Park Entertainment, Margot Robbie’s Lucky Chap Entertainment, and others. They also volunteer for community projects in the neighborhood with Rideback.

Lin’s diversity initiatives are numerous: Rideback employees work with fifth-graders at Union Avenue Elementary, which serves a mostly immigrant student population in Historic Filipinotown, teaching them how to write screenplays as part of a citywide Young Storytellers program.

Along with filmmaker Ava DuVernay and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Lin launched the Evolve Entertainment Fund to open doors into the entertainment industry for underrepresented college students through paid internships and mentoring.

And this year, Lin plans to expand the Rideback Collective, a collaborative screenwriter program, by providing financing for up to 10 writers to develop their projects, which Rideback would then produce.

The future of successful storytelling, he says, is a world in which Hollywood power brokers no longer say that diversity should be a priority for business reasons. Instead, success will mean routinely hiring filmmakers and TV show creators who are diverse.

As for Lin, “I’m not waiting for the future. I’m doing it.”


Dan Lin’s best advice

Move your company offices to a ­diverse neighborhood. We moved our offices from Hollywood to Historic Filipinotown because we wanted to work in an area that was more ethnically diverse, representing a richer array of cultures and backgrounds. We employ neighborhood residents and look for people who have different life experiences than we do.

3 Ohio Cities Among Nation’s Most Diverse: U.S. News

ohio diverse cities

CLEVELAND — Nearly 70 percent of the largest cities in the United States are more racially diverse than they were in 2010, according to a U.S. News analysis of the most recently released population estimates data from the U.S. Census Bureau — a trend experts expect to continue.

Three Ohio cities are on this year’s list, including Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

To determine which communities made the list, U.S. News looked at cities with a population of more than 300,000 people, then ranked the cities according to changes in racial and ethnic diversity between 2010 and 2018. A total of 66 cities were ranked — and Stockton, California, came in as the most diverse city, while El Paso, Texas, holds the distinction for being the least diverse.

Cleveland came in as the most diverse city in our state with an overall ranking of 28 and a diversity score of 0.67. From 2010 to 2018, the diversity score in Cleveland increased by 8.4 percent. While Cleveland has made progress in its diversity, the city was described as “hyper-segregated” as recently as 2018.

According to U.S. News, a diversity index score of 1 indicates perfect diversity, or a 100 percent chance that two people chosen at random in that city would be different from each other in race and ethnicity.


Traditional immigrant gateways on both coasts, including New York and Los Angeles, rank among the top 10 most diverse large cities. California cities consistently rank as the most diverse in the country, with Stockton, Oakland and Sacramento taking the top three spots in 2018.

Here are the top 10 most diverse cities, according to the U.S. News report:

  1. Stockton, California
  2. Oakland, California
  3. Sacramento, California
  4. New York, New York
  5. Long Beach, California
  6. San Jose, California
  7. Houston, Texas
  8. Los Angeles, California
  9. Fresno, California
  10. Chicago, Illinois

U.S. News also ranked the least racially diverse cities. Those coming in at the bottom include:

  1. El Paso, Texas
  2. Detroit, Michigan
  3. Lexington, Kentucky
  4. Portland, Oregon
  5. Louisville, Kentucky
  6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  7. Omaha, Nebraska
  8. Memphis, Tennessee
  9. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  10. Corpus Christi, Texas

Of the 66 cities with a population of 300,000 or more, 46 cities had a higher diversity index score in 2018 than in 2010.

Some of the largest diversity gains have occurred in cities that started with some of the lowest diversity scores. Detroit, with a population of 85 percent black in 2010, saw the biggest gain in diversity, due in part to a growing white population. Between 2010 and 2018, the probability that two people chosen at random would be different from one another in race and ethnicity grew by 21 percent.

“The U.S. is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, and those patterns tend to be magnified in cities,” Mark Mather, a demographer with the nonprofit Population Reference Bureau, said in the U.S. News report.

The Cities project is part of U.S. News’ Government Rankings initiative, which measures government performance at the international, state and local levels and includes the Best Countries, Best States, Healthiest Communities and Cities projects.

America’s Most Racially Diverse Big Cities

diverse cities

The United States is becoming more racially diverse – a trend exemplified in many of its cities. Of the 66 U.S. cities with a population of 300,000 or more in 2018, about 70% – 46 cities – were more racially diverse in 2018 than in 2010, according to a U.S. News & World Report analysis.

A majority of Americans – 64% – say racial and ethnic diversity has a positive impact on the country’s culture, according to the Pew Research Center. At the same time, 47% believe having a racially and ethnically diverse population makes it harder for policymakers to tackle the country’s challenges.

U.S. News calculated racial diversity for U.S. cities with a population of 300,000 or more within their legal boundaries. Population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey were used to determine the share each racial and ethnic group accounted for in the city’s population and how likely it would be for two people chosen at random to be from different racial and ethnic groups. People of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race, according to federal standards, but this overlap among groups is captured in the analysis.

These are the 10 most racially diverse large cities as of 2018, according to the U.S. News analysis:(read more)

Forbes: Meet America’s Best Employers For Diversity 2020

forbes diversity employers

As the topic of diversity and inclusion has gained ever greater importance in the business world, Forbes not only added this vertical to its reporting coverage but, in 2018, partnered with market research firm Statista to create a list of the Best Employers for Diversity. This year marks the third annual list.

The ranking was compiled by surveying 60,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees, and it features some notable shakeups: Google fell more than 150 spots amid the sexual misconduct woes besetting its leadership team and IBM, which has been battling age discrimination lawsuits, also took a dip, dropping from No. 217 to No. 237.

Enterprise software giant SAP tops this year’s list with a score of 85.89, up eight spots from last year’s list. Henry Ford Health System, based in Detroit, came in second place, making its first-ever appearance on the list, and the Cincinnati-based consumer goods company Procter & Gamble took third place, a climb from No. 22 last year.

Today In: Leadership

While most companies use their data-collecting abilities to target consumers and glean business insights, others are using analytics to promote diversity and inclusion within their own workforces. SAP North America is one of them. Based in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, the software firm has been in a period of flux in the wake of former CEO Bill McDermott’s 2019 departure. But the organization’s commitment to diversity hasn’t wavered.

“In Bill, we had a leader who really spoke eloquently about our commitment to inclusion,” says Judith Williams, head of people sustainability and chief diversity and inclusion officer at SAP. “He and the executive board set a goal to be the most inclusive software company on the planet.” And the company has continued to make progress toward that goal.

Jennifer Morgan, who became the first woman to sit on SAP’s executive board in 2017, also became the first woman to lead a company on Germany’s DAX stock index when she was appointed co-CEO in 2019. (SAP is headquartered in Germany.) Morgan has been recognized as a leader in gender equality and is credited with closing SAP North America’s gender pay gap.

“She’s really been at the forefront of championing for women in leadership,” Williams says. Women represent 26.4% of global management positions at SAP, a far cry from gender parity but on par with other tech companies like GoogleFacebook and Microsoft. SAP’s executive board has committed to increasing the percentage of women in management positions at the company by 1% each year, with a goal of 30% by the end of 2022.

Williams is an SAP newcomer who took over as the head of diversity and inclusion in September 2018, following stints at Dropbox and Google. Over the course of her 15-month tenure, she has pushed for a data-driven approach that uses metrics to find inefficiencies and gaps, answer questions about SAP’s workforce demographics, track the progression of underrepresented groups through the company’s career pipeline and build inclusion into SAP products. “If I can’t count it and measure it, it makes me nervous,” she quips. “My goal is to make inclusion the default option, so that it’s actually harder to exclude than it is to include.”

But data can have deeply ingrained biases and sometimes doesn’t tell the full story, something Williams acknowledges. “I believe that intelligence is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. So if we see that our pool for ‘high potential’ candidates is skewed, then based on that fundamental premise, we have a problem,” she says. “Fortunately, we don’t see those anomalies in our pool, but if we did, we could then dig under the data and say, ‘Why is that happening?’”

Algorithms, done correctly, have their  perks, to be sure, with the ability to remove human biases from the talent and recruitment process. “An algorithm is never rushed, an algorithm is never hungry, an algorithm never feels tired or just had a fight with its spouse. People bring all of that into their decisions and might not be conscious of the way that it shifts them into biased thinking,” Williams says.

But it’s humans who are at the core of SAP’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. Boasting nearly 100,000 employees around the world, and approximately 25,000 in North America, SAP has more than 80 employee network groups with more than 20,000 active members. The four biggest are its networks for black, Latinx, LGBT+ and female-identifying employees, but there are also smaller groups for veterans and the disabled that are growing.

In an effort to diversify its school-to-work pipeline, the company trains students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on the latest SAP technologies so that they can work for the company or one of its partners after graduation. The company also recruits at HBCU campuses and was one of the first signatories of the Hispanic Promise, a national pledge created in 2019 to advance and empower U.S. Hispanics in the workplace.

SAP has long recognized the potential of neurologically diverse talent—an area where many companies’ efforts lag—and recently expanded its flagship Autism at Work program, which was launched in 2013. (Nearly 90% of college graduates on the autism spectrum are unemployed, compared with the national unemployment rate of 3.5%.) SAP works with external partners to identify neurodiverse candidates for its six-week preemployment training. About half of the program’s graduates, 43.75%, have received paid employment opportunities at SAP—and the company now has 42 employees and interns with autism.

As older employees continue to postpone retirement, many of today’s workplaces consist of five generations working together. SAP’s unique Cross-Generational Intelligence initiative works to ensure that its multigenerational workforce can cohesively move forward on the company’s common goals. The program also allows employees to trade expertise and experience across peer groups, and it aims to maximize the potential of mixed-age teams. “We are really focused on inclusive collaboration,” says Williams. “For our technical teams, specifically, it’s important to have an efficient transfer of knowledge.”

During  her tenure, Williams says, SAP has had a “mindset shift,” referring to past structural inefficiencies. “We’ve moved from activity measures to outcome measures, from building programs just for the sake of it to first asking what problems that program is trying to solve and how do we validate that that’s happening?”

Although SAP achieved the best employer for diversity top spot this year, the company acknowledges that there is still much room for improvement, particularly when it comes to reaching gender parity at the leadership level, to the hiring and professional development of people of color and to employing people with disabilities.

“We can do better in every area,” Williams says. “When we compare ourselves to our industry, we’re doing pretty well. But if we compare ourselves to the populations in which we live, we have a huge opportunity for improvement.”

For the full list of America’s Best Employers For Diversity, click here.


To determine the list, Statista surveyed 60,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees. All the surveys were anonymous, allowing participants to openly share their opinions. Respondents were first asked to rate their organizations on criteria such as age, gender, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation equality, as well as that of general diversity. These responses were reviewed for potential diversity gaps. So if workers from minority groups, for example, rated an organization poorly on diversity, but nonminority groups rated it highly, Statista would take that into account and adjust the company’s score accordingly. Statista then asked respondents belonging to minority groups to nominate organizations other than their own. The final list ranks the 500 employers that not only received the most recommendations, but also boast the most diverse boards and executive ranks and the most proactive diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Why diversity needs your star power, as well as sponsors


Women are still marginalised in the boardroom and in broader economic terms.

• Lack of diversity harms the bottom line.

• Opportunities for mentorship are common; sponsorship less so.

“You know you a star, you can touch the sky.”

Those lyrics are from Good As Hell by Lizzo, Time’s entertainer of the year and the personification of female self-affirmation. Lizzo goes on to say: “I know that it’s hard, but you have to try. If you need advice, let me simplify.”

It’s not easy. Women don’t always see themselves with the star power to touch the sky. Neither do the people they work with. To borrow from another Lizzo song, the truth hurts about diversity among our ranks. We’ve “got boy problems”; problems such as needing more men as allies and advocates.

Of the CEOs who make up the Fortune Global 500, only 14 are women, just shy of 3%. Of the CEOs who make up the US Fortune 500, only 6.6% are women – just a little better. And less than 0.01% are women of colour on either list. Another sobering statistic: in 2018, there were fewer appointments of women as CEO than appointments of men named Jeffrey in the US Fortune 500.

The problem isn’t confined to just the executive ranks. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2020, it will take 257 years to achieve gender parity in terms of economic participation and opportunity. I’m glad that our great-, great-, great-, great-grandchildren will achieve gender equity, but can the world wait? Certainly, my granddaughters cannot. In order to deliver greater economic value and solve some of the world’s biggest challenges, everybody’s star needs the opportunity to shine – soon. That’s the power of inclusion, and it makes business sense.

We all need to step up to the plate – women and men. According to Harvard Business Review, when men are engaged as allies 96% of organizations see progress. However, a step change requires men to move from allies to sponsors. Advocates for women. Champions. You choose the title, but it’s the action that matters. Yes, you may face resistance, even backlash. That comes with changing the game. But, I challenge you to give lie to Lizzo’s question: “Why men great ’till they gotta be great?”

And to all the women out there, we should not be the ones to cast the first stone. Too often, we are not women’s best allies. If you’ve moved up, send the elevator back down for other talented women. And when the doors open, pull that next leader in, bring them up – advocate, champion, take action.

Gender inequity isn’t just a missed opportunity for women, though. It’s a missed opportunity for business and society. The International Monetary Fund estimates the losses from economic disempowerment of women range from 10% of GDP in advanced economies to more than 30% in regions like South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

It’s not just economic value that’s at stake. Achieving shared goals that benefit society, such as those outlined in the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, will take the best minds working together. To realize WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab’s model of stakeholder capitalism, in which corporations focus on serving all of their stakeholders, we need to include the voices of all people. Members of the Business Roundtable, Dow included, recognize the value in this approach.

Evidence shows that inclusive environments lead to better organizational and business outcomes. Research demonstrates that the financial returns of companies with three or more women on their board are substantially higher than for companies that have no women on their board. But that’s not all. More diverse companies are also likely to have fewer environmental penalties, labour violations and product safety recalls. Why? Because having more women and other under-represented populations in executive positions contributes to a diversity of views and innovative solutions that lead to better decision-making.

But research is one thing. Real change is another. Too often the conversation is about how women and under-represented groups can learn to operate within the existing system, instead of changing systems to create a truly inclusive environment. Recognizing and addressing structural barriers that prevent the brilliance of all talented and skilled people to shine. That’s when businesses gain greater value. That’s when people feel truly valued and contribute to their fullest. To really move the needle, companies must focus on changing their cultures and making deliberate efforts to create paths to success for all.

Let’s take the leaky leadership pipeline. It’s hard to fix without acknowledging the structural impediments and implicit biases that block women and under-represented groups from climbing the ladder. When Dow began digging into why some high-performing US minorities were leaving mid-career, we found they reported having plenty of opportunities for mentorship, but not sponsorship. Leaders were more likely to talk to them about their advancement and less likely to advocate on their behalf. So, we implemented Advocacy in Action this year, a programme that pairs African American protégés with senior leader advocates. The program not only addresses leadership training for the protégés, but includes implicit bias training for the leader advocates.

As a woman and an African American, I know first-hand how exhausting it can be to constantly self-check – to waste vital mental energy worrying if my authentic self will be accepted. Worrying if I need to be twice as good, or even perfect, because I am held to a higher standard.

Lizzo encourages women to “boss up and improve your life”, and that’s an empowering and important message. But achieving equity isn’t just about women and under-represented groups changing and “bossing up”. It’s about change, period. All people stepping into the change they need to be. Businesses changing how they operate – not because they should, but because they must to succeed in today’s world. As we meet in Davos, let’s continue to put the focus on inclusion and creating a system where everybody can touch the sky.

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