Gender Action Lab

Image of resume with the text : Gender Action Lab - Best Evidence to Debias the Workplace


The Gender Action Lab is a dynamic platform of evidence-based insights on how to redesign how we work and learn for gender equality, and evaluate the impact of new policies, practices and procedures rigorously  

The online platform will summarize the evidence on what works in the form of a practice-focused, open-access database that includes tangible interventions, research summaries, case studies and tools to move from “best practice” to “best evidence.  

This resource will guide practitioners and organizations who want tangible help in implementing more effective solutions to promote gender equality that focus on systemic changes proven to work.  

  • Equip With Evidence: Create a dynamic online platform where practitioners and organizations can find the best available evidence allowing them to (i) raise awareness of workplace equality issues; (ii) redesign HR practices and procedures; and (iii) foster an inclusive culture where all can thrive. 

  • Create Evidence: Commission new research to generate additional evidence and insights on what works to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Gender and racial inequities in the workplace are being exacerbated during this pandemic. Though many are talking about the socioeconomic effects of COVID-19 on women and people of color, fewer organizations are focused on the solutions that evidence-based research has shown may work to narrow such gaps in the workplace and beyond. During a time when organizations are already adapting and redesigning some of their processes due to COVID-19, the Gender Action Lab can inform those redesigns and rigorously evaluate the impact of new policies, practices, and procedures to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are prioritized in the workplace. For example, some of the questions we hope to provide answers to include:  

  • How can organizations mitigate caregiver bias — through workplace flexibility, paid sick leave, or otherwise?  

  • How can managers run inclusive virtual meetings and create an environment where people can bring their full selves to work?  

  • How do we ensure that organizational processes that are continuing to take place (recruitment, hiring, performance evaluation, feedback, promotions, etc.) are debiased and take current gender or race specific constraints (e.g., conducting performance appraisals at a time of increased stress, job losses, home-schooling and health challenges) into account? 

Talent Management: Everyone wants to benefit from 100 percent of the talent pool, but this is easier said than done. From hiring and performance evaluation to work allocation and promotions, gender biases can creep in. Research shows that nobody is immune from them. Merely knowing the gender of a person can subject evaluators to unintentional and implicit bias, such as choosing or promoting a candidate not based on a rational assessment of their capabilities but instead based on stereotypes that are not useful in predicting future performance. GAL will include interventions that can make all stages of the employee lifecycle more inclusive and fair. 

Organizational Policies: Organizational policies create the playing field for employees, yet in many cases, that playing field is not level. Our individual unconscious biases are often baked into the policies that we create, thereby unfairly advantaging some groups over others.  Designing and implementing equitable and gender-neutral policies is essential in order to fully debias the workplace, and can yield results at surprisingly low cost and  high speed.  

Culture and Inclusion: Inclusive workplaces can increase retention, improve productivity, and increase general well-being for employees of all backgrounds. Once we get underrepresented groups in the door, it is essential to create an environment where they — along with all employees, managers, and leaders — can thrive and bring their whole selves to work.