That's a great question. Discrimination starts early and it's often latent. It's not obvious. People don't set out to create barriers. Often the barriers are institutionalized or systemic. As women, you experience them and question it.
Finding a high-quality child care place that's safe for your kids—when you find that, it shouldn't feel like a lottery win. It's funny, because I'm a single mom of a little boy, and one of the things that I've learned is that elementary school can be very geared to young women. The environment is very geared towards young women. Often boys don't thrive in that learning environment the way that girls do.
It's flipping the paradigm and finding balance for both genders to thrive. It's trying to create opportunities in which kids see themselves and they see mentors who they respect, and where there are opportunities for them to grow and flourish. The gender analysis, for example, is a great opportunity. But if it's only an analysis, if it's only a “what are the barriers”, if there is no actual implementation, and if it doesn't go beyond government, then we're not really shifting the balance.
In regard to your question earlier about those employers who got it right, where we're seeing shifts in the demographics with respect to more women working in certain segments of the job market, likely somebody in that organization had the leadership and the vision to actually put a gender lens on their company or their organization, and started to create those conditions that everybody can come to work and thrive in. It starts there.
A gender lens is really about men and women, girls and boys, thriving and finding balance in those environments. Often what we end up doing when we do these analyses is that we look at one or the other, as opposed to creating those conditions where everyone can thrive equally. A lot of those barriers can be seen as divisive. Often they're latent. Nobody sets out to create those barriers, just like for people with disabilities, but they're there.
Making shifts in those takes time, but it takes concerted effort and it takes leadership. I also think that young women truly need to see themselves in government, in prominent decision-making roles, at the head of leadership.
I come from health care and I was a senior executive at one of the largest teaching hospitals in the country. I remember sitting at my first meeting of medical heads. There were 47 medical divisions in the hospital. There was only one female head. Imagine. What does that say about the culture?