How Second City Is Changing the Conversation around Gender Equality

The business-to-business arm of the famed Chicago improv troupe thinks the gender pay gap is no laughing matter.

By Dawn Onley Oct 24, 2016
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​The Second City improv troupe has long been a champion of diversity.

​Brynne Humphreys thinks it’s time to change the conversation around the gender pay gap. Instead of telling women they need to take more risks and less leave, business leaders should start talking about what they can do to level the playing field.

“There’s this paradox of [people] wanting women to be more confident and negotiate better and then not reacting as well [to them] as when men do those things,” says Humphreys, vice president of client services for Second City Works, the business-to-business arm of famed The Second City improv troupe in Chicago.

Brynne HumphreysSecond City Works has advised hundreds of corporations, including Hyatt Hotels and Procter & Gamble, using improv-based techniques that focus on key business challenges such as talent development. Its latest leadership initiative, 2095 Today, is aimed at helping organizations identify and address workplace gender inequality. The name refers to a 2014 World Economic Forum report noting that equality won’t be reached until at least 2095.

“Women are 8 percent of top earners in this country,” Humphreys says. “We’re more of the population, more educated and vastly not top earners. Our goal is to hasten that rate of change—that’s what our programs are aimed to do.”

Main Article: HR Key in Helping Employers Achieve Gender Equality

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