Saturday, August 26, 2023

Gender Bias and Women’s Equality Day

Today is Women's Equality Day and marks the 103rd anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. This important day celebrates the achievements of women’s rights activists (including my great-grandmother who marched for women's suffrage in New York in the early 1900's) and reminds us of the struggles that women still face including equal pay for equal work and top leadership roles.

According to the National Women's History Alliance, "At the behest of Representative Bella Abzug (D-NY), in 1971, the United States Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. This was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women that had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world’s first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality."

Today, to celebrate this important day, I invited Amy Diehl to return to my blog to continue our discussion about gender bias and gender equality. Amy has graciously appeared two previous times here on my blog, and links to those posts appear at the end of this post. Highlights of our discussion follow a brief introduction.

Dr. Amy Diehl is Chief Information Officer at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and a gender equity researcher, speaker, and consultant. She is the author of Glass Walls: Shattering the Six Gender Bias Barriers Still Holding Women Back at Work. Her work has also been published in numerous scholarly journals, book chapters, and popular press including Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Ms. Magazine. Amy's links also appear at the end of this Q&A.

QUESTION: What led to your new book entitled, "GLASS WALLS: Shattering the Six Gender Bias Barriers Still Holding Women Back at Work," and what are some key takeaways you hope readers have?

AMY DIEHL: What led to this book is really the story of what led me to become a gender equity researcher. As a young information technology leader, I was running into strange barriers, like getting backlash when I acted in an authoritative manner. I was emulating the male leaders around me but not receiving the same level of respect that they received. For a long time, I took it personally, thinking I was at fault. Then I began to research gender barriers affecting women at work. I quickly realized that I was not alone in my experiences.

In 2014, I joined forces with Dr. Leanne Dzubinski from Biola University to study workplace gender bias. Our work has cumulated in our new book, Glass Walls. The main messages that I hope that readers take away are an understanding of gender barriers, and that women are not alone in their experiences of gender bias.

We say in the book that (unfortunately), “No woman is exempt from gender bias.” The other takeaway is that shattering the glass walls of gender bias is possible. We offer many specific strategies for leaders, allies, and individual women.

SHARE THIS: While no woman is exempt from gender bias, shattering the glass walls of gender bias IS possible. ~@amydiehl #WomensEqualityDay #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: On your website, you feature something called "The Gender Bias Scale for Women Leaders." Can you provide an overview and why all women leaders should take a look?

(Check out the scale at this link:

AMY DIEHL: The Gender Bias Scale for Women Leaders was developed by myself and Drs. Leanne Dzubinski, Amber Stephenson, and David Wang. We designed this scale for organizations to measure bias impacting women, across 15 specific factors. The results can be used to identify specific barriers prevalent within a group, department, or organization and apply interventions accordingly.
While the scale was not designed to be scored at an individual level, all women leaders can and should review the questions. Bias is often subtle and unconscious and built into regular institutional functioning. Reading the scale questions will help women recognize ways in which bias is impacting them, ways that they may not have ever realized.

QUESTION: According to an article published by the BBC entitled, "Why We Use Women’s Professional Titles Less Than Men’s," "Across many fields, women who have earned formal titles report that others neglect or dismiss these titles, or even condemn women’s claims to them." To see proof, we can look to the American First Lady to see how many people dismiss Dr. Jill Biden's title. So, how can we get gender parity when it comes to professional titles?

(Read the full article here:

AMY DIEHL: Dr. Leanne Dzubinski and I wrote an article for Fast Company where we coined the terms for this form of bias: untitling and uncredentialing. We also cover this topic in our book.

Organizational leaders and those in the media must set the standards by ensuring that women’s titles and credentials are used in all settings in which men’s are used. Executives, managers, and allies can also reinforce use of titles with polite correction: “Yes, Dr. Jackson makes a good point.” If you are the person being untitled, it can be tricky to call it out. If you feel comfortable, you can say, “I would appreciate being called Dr. Diehl in public settings.” Or you can ask one or more colleagues to watch for untitling and reinforce proper use of your title.

And all of us should do our homework to learn people’s correct titles. If we are meeting with someone new, use their title unless or until they ask you to use their first name. Like other forms of gender bias, change is possible if all of us work together.

QUESTION: According to an article published by 19thNews entitled "Women Are Less Likely to Buy Electric Vehicles Than Men - Here's What's Holding Them Back," how can women overcome the gender gap in this scenario?

(Read the full article here:

AMY DIEHL: A much better question would be this: How can the electric car industry overcome the gender gap? There are many reasons women are less likely than men to purchase electric cars, such as electric cars being stereotyped as men’s toys, their high price, and the need to have a home charging station, which is difficult for individuals who don’t own their own home.

But another reason stands out: the lack of safe, reliable, and convenient charging network. Charging a car takes much longer than filling it up with gas. Yet, the United States generally lacks chargers in places where they are safe and convenient. There should be fast chargers at every restaurant, convenience store, and shopping center, in addition to gas stations. And they should be in safe, well-lit areas with people around.

Walmart and Sam’s Club recently announced a massive expansion of fast-charging stations at their stores by 2030.  Until the amount of time to charge is reduced and the network of charging stations is increased, women’s adoption of electric cars is likely to remain stagnant.

QUESTION: If you could dine with three women from history, corporate America, or your own family tree, who would you choose and why?

AMY DIEHL: Here are my three:

From history: American abolitionist Harriet Tubman: I remember writing a school paper about her as a child, and I was awed by her fortitude and bravery then, as I am now.

From corporate America: Former PepsiCo CEO and Chairperson Indra Nooyi: Among her many accomplishments was introducing Stayfree menstrual pads in India at a time when direct advertising of such products was banned. She devised a workaround, marketing the products to female college students.

From my family: My great-grandmother, Edna Ocker, was a wife and mother of 11 children during the 1900’s. I was fortunate to know her as a young child, but today, I would want to ask her many questions about her life and women’s roles in the early twentieth century.

As always, my sincere gratitude to Amy for sharing her insights about issues that impact us all.

Image Credit: President Barack Obama.

Connect with Amy at these links:
Twitter: @amydiehl
LinkedIn: Amy-Diehl
Instagram: @amydiehlphd
Facebook: @amydiehlphd

Links that were referenced in the above Q&A:

Book link:

Article in Fast Company:

Article re: Walmart & Sam’s Club:

Article re: Harriet Tubman:

Article re: Indra Nooyi:

AND FINALLY, links for two previous Q&A’s featuring Amy on this blog:
A Convo About Gender Bias to Recognize the Supreme Court's New Term
October 3, 2022

Good Leadership Is NOT Defined by Gender
March 25, 2022

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Inspiring Reading As We Approach Women's Equality Day

As we get ready to commemorate and celebrate this year’s Women’s Equality Day on August 26, one might wonder, how can I become more enlightened about women’s equality on this important day? How about reading eight amazing books?

According to Melanie Gustafson, a professor at the University of Vermont, who writes about the women's suffrage movement and women in politics, “The date of August 26th was chosen to commemorate the day in 1920 when Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the proclamation granting American women the constitutional right to vote.”

While the first two are meant for young readers, they tell timeless stories about two American heroes, or in this case, SHEroes:

Written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by ELizabeth Baddeley, this book chronicles the life of RBG in a memorable way. Its illustrations capture the imagination and bring RBG to life for young minds. It's a must-read for young girls.


Did you know that there was a woman's name on this important document? After reading this book written by Ella Schwartz and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk, you'll know all about this inspiring woman who ran a printing press, printed and ran newspapers, and served as the postmaster of Baltimore. At the bottom of the Declaration of Independence, it reads: Baltimore in Maryland: Printed by Mary Katharine Goddard. According to the book, "She knew the risk. By adding her name, she was putting her life in danger. But that didn't matter. Mary Katharine wanted the world to know that being a patriot was a sacrifice worth dying for."


To quote co-author Amy Diehl from a previous Q&A post here on my blog: "Co-Author Dr. Leanne Dzubinski and I are so excited to bring this book to readers. It will help leaders, allies, and individual women learn how to break down gender bias in two ways. First, we break down gender bias by explaining the six barriers and their subcomponents. These barriers are male privilege, disproportionate constraints, insufficient support, devaluation, and hostility which lead to women’s acquiescence. In the book we tell stories of women who have experienced these barriers. Second, we provide strategies that leaders, allies, and women themselves can use to break down and eliminate each aspect of gender bias."

Author Caroline Criado Perez sets the tone for this book with her dedication, "For the women who persist: keep on being bloody difficult."

Author Elizabeth Cobbs' spirit was seen with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's quote that accompanied the prologue: "The fundamental purpose of feminism is that women should have equal opportunity and equal rights with every other citizen."

And here are three books from last year's post:


While written by journalist Nadine Epstein, the list of women included in this book were chosen by former Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg during the final year of her amazing life. The women featured include Deborah, the first woman judge in the bible; Emma Lazarus, a poet whose words adorn the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty; Golda Meir, the first and only female prime minister of Israel; Anne Frank, whose diary during World War II became famous; and many more.


Written by lawyer and cultural historian Linda Hirshman, this book is a story of law, women, and most of all, friendship. Here’s the description in a nutshell, “The relationship between Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Republican and Democrat, Christian and Jew, western rancher’s daughter and Brooklyn girl – transcends political party, religion, region, and culture. Strengthened by each other’s presence, these groundbreaking judges, the first and second women to serve on the highest court in the land, have transformed the Constitution and America itself, making it a more equal place for all women.”


Written by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, this book is a combination of storytelling, history lessons, and images of wearable art from all over the world.

Albright explained, “A foreign dignitary standing alongside me at a press conference would be happier to see a bright, shining sun attached to my jacket than a menacing wasp. I felt it worthwhile, moreover, to inject an element of humor and spice to the diplomatic routine. The world has had its share of power ties; the time seemed right for the mute elegance of pins with attitude.”

“As my pins became more expressive and drew more comments, I had cause to reflect on the relationship between appearance and identity. To what extent, to adopt the old saying, do pins make the woman or, for that matter, the man? After all, the display of pins has never been confined to one gender. Medieval knights wore elaborate jeweled badges that defined their status and conferred a group identity…George Washington sometimes wore a spectacular diamond eagle that included no fewer than 198 stones…Finally, our armed forces also use pins – in the form of ribbons and medals – to convey messages about accomplishments, stature, and rank.”

So, what will you read to celebrate Women’s Equality Day? While you consider your choices, get ready for the Q&A on my blog this Saturday. Amy Diehl will appear here for the third time and share her thoughts about women's equality, the advances made, and the work yet to do. Tune in!

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey's Library.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

What if we stopped calling X by X?

By now, everyone who uses social media platforms on a regular basis has heard that Twitter is no longer going by the name Twitter, and lots of Twitter users keep asking WHY. Elon Musk has dramatically changed the name of the social media water cooler to X, just the letter X. While this re-branding is crazy, it definitely caught the attention of the media.

According to Wes Davis of The Verge:

“The letter X has been on just about everything Musk has touched for the last two-plus decades. was the original name for PayPal; it’s in his SpaceX company name; it’s in the name for the Tesla SUV; it anchors X.AI and his kid X Æ A-12; and he has said he wants to turn Twitter into “X, the everything app.” Now, he’s finally doing something with the domain he bought back from PayPal in 2017.”

But, here’s a solution: What would happen if no one called Twitter by its new name? What would happen if no one changed the logo on their website or when using the platform? What would happen if no one changed the URL anywhere that they had Twitter’s URL?

This would make the name change and brand re-design effectively mute. It would be an uprising by users telling Elon Musk that they dislike his actions.

How about you? Do you miss the Twitter name and bird? Do you still use Twitter? Would you participate in a protest to keep the name and logo? Count me in.

Image Credit: Twitter.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Happy National Book Lovers Day!

How are you celebrating today? Do you always have a book on hand? What book are you currently reading? What are your favorite books?

When I have been asked to fill out a form or application, and a question asks, “What are your hobbies?,” reading always falls at the top of my list. Through reading, I am introduced to other cultures, my imagination takes flight, and I always learn.

I wanted to take a walk back through time and share my favorite all-time books to recognize and celebrate National Book Lovers Day! Here we go…

During high school, I was introduced to Danish playwright Henrik Ibsen, known as the father of modern drama. His play “An Enemy of the People” spoke to me then, and its relevance continues today. Read it to understand how the challenges of politics repeat again and again.

During high school, I read “The Count of Monte Cristo” by French novelist and playwright Alexandre Dumas. There’s only one word to describe this story: WOW! If you want to take an amazing roller coaster ride through France, Italy, and the islands of the Mediterranean during 1815-1839, then this is the book! According to Lucy Sante, a contributor to The New York Review of Books, “The Count of Monte Cristo has become a fixture of Western civilization’s literature.”

And lastly, during high school, the musical CATS became famous, and as a result, I read T.S. Eliot’s inspiration, a book called “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” You certainly don’t have to be an ailurophile (a cat lover) to appreciate the poetry in this book.

Over the years, I’ve read too many business books focused on marketing, leadership, and the customer experience to count as well as works of fiction. However, there are definitely some stories that I will never forget. Here they are:

  • “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay
  • “P.S., I Love You” by Cecelia Ahern
  • “The Wedding” by Nicholas Sparks
  • “The Sweetness of Forgetting” by Kristin Harmel
  • “The Paris Daughter” by Kristin Harmel
  • “Something’s in the Water” by Catherine Steadman
  • The “Monk” series of books by Lee Goldberg

No matter which book you consider your favorite, today is a great day to support the writers who take you on unforgettable adventures! Give them a shout-out on Amazon with a positive review or send a DM on Twitter/X, Facebook, or Instagram.

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey’s Library.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Marketing News of the Week: Barbie the Movie and Twitter X

The focus today consists of the biggest marketing news of the past several weeks, since July 21st, when Barbie appeared in movie theaters, and since July 24th, when Twitter unveiled its new name, the letter "X."

Here's a little history first...Mattel’s Barbie has become one of the world’s most popular dolls. Introduced in 1959, the Barbie doll owes its success to adapting to the ever-changing markets of various cultures and countries by launching Barbie dolls of shapes, colors, and sizes, and customizations to the inhabitants of certain regions. Because Barbie has often been criticized for representing an unattainable beauty ideal for girls and women, the doll has evolved both in style and shape over the years. The Barbie brand also honors pioneering women from throughout history.

People descended on theaters to watch the Barbie movie directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie. Here are some of the movie's stand-out moments:

Barbie is crying on a bench in the real world and turns to the elderly woman (Ann Roth) sitting next to her and tells her, "You're so beautiful," and the woman replies, "I know." Director Greta Gerwig was adamant to keep this scene in the film even though others were advising her to cut the scene out. Greta believed it is the true heart of the movie and that Margot plays that moment gently and unforced. The scene has now been one of the most talked about moments.

Gloria's (America Ferrera) moving monologue is one of the film's most powerful quotes. Gloria describes the immense expectations and the unfair standards that females are subjected to in order to be viewed as desirable and liked by others. During the scene, Barbie has an emotional moment confessing how she feels she is not good enough for anything. Gloria tells Barbie how she is so beautiful, and it kills Gloria that Barbie doesn't think she is good enough. Gloria continues by saying, "I'm just so tired of watching myself, and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us."

As the movie comes to an end, Barbie no longer feels like just a doll and begins to wonder whether there’s anything left for her in the home that she’s known. Ruth Handler (Rhea Perlman) passes on some words of wisdom to Barbie while describing the relationship between mothers and daughters. Ruth tells Barbie that “ideas live forever, humans not so much.” Barbie, still assumes that she needs her creator, Ruth’s, permission to become human. Ruth tells Barbie, “You don’t need my permission. I can’t control you any more than I could control my own daughter. I named you after her: Barbara. And I always hoped for you like I hoped for her. We mothers stand still, so our daughters can look back to see how far they have come.”

In addition, another film appeared in theaters the same day, Oppenheimer, and many theater-goers watched both, creating a new term celebrating the twin release of both movies shattering box office records for opening weekend sales, "Barbenheimer." When was the last time that a movie got a different name by competing against other movies? Not in recent memory. Score one for brand marketing. According to Reid Goldberg at Collider, "The Barbenheimer phenomenon has become a global sensation and proven that cross-promotion can benefit competing blockbusters." And also stimulate the economy.

And do you consider Twitter as your social water cooler? Do you go to Twitter first when news breaks or to see what people are saying during big events, such as, the Super Bowl or presidential primaries? Well, the brand continues to evolve under the ownership of Elon Musk, and the latest transformation is the name. Users can no longer tweet, but post instead. How can the name change be effective as a single letter? Will this Twitter/X become a timeless branding case study for marketing students like "Intel Inside?" Time will tell if this latest change helps or hinders the social platform.

What will the marketing buzz be next week? Tune in for a recap.

Image Credit: Barbie Movie/Mattel and Twitter/X.

To read about Barbie's Inspiring Women Series, check out this post:
Barbie Inspires Today on National Doll Day on June 10, 2023

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Why Podcasts Should Be Included in Your Marketing Strategy

Do you listen to podcasts? Does your marketing strategy include podcasts? Do you know the definition of podcasts? If the answer to these questions is NO, then this post is a must-read!

According to Wikipedia: 

"A podcast is a program made available in digital format for download over the Internet. A podcast series usually features one or more recurring hosts engaged in a discussion about a particular topic or current event. Discussion and content within a podcast can range from carefully scripted to completely improvised. Podcasts combine elaborate and artistic sound production with thematic concerns ranging from scientific research to slice-of-life journalism. Many podcast series provide an associated website with links and show notes, guest biographies, transcripts, additional resources, commentary, and occasionally a community forum dedicated to discussing the show's content. The cost to the consumer is low, with many podcasts free to download. Some podcasts are underwritten by corporations or sponsored, with the inclusion of commercial advertisements."

Kathi Kruse has previously appeared here on this blog in a Q&A about social media, employee engagement, and the customer experience. Since she is a regular podcaster, we re-connected to discuss podcasts, and highlights of our discussion follow a brief introduction.

Kathi Kruse is a retail car gal, dealership profitability expert, social media strategist, coach, trainer, author of Kruse Control Newsletter, co-host of The First Pencil podcast, and founder of Kruse Control, Inc. and AutoCFO To Go. She is a board member of Hanaeleh Horse Rescue. Ten percent of Kruse Control profits go to animal welfare.

QUESTION: Podcasts are rising in popularity as a promotional tool, so how would you explain a podcast to someone who has yet to use the medium?

KATHI KRUSE: Podcasts are digital audio programs accessed through dedicated podcasting platforms and apps like Apple Podcasts. You can subscribe to your favorite podcasts, receive automatic updates when new episodes are released, and listen to episodes on-demand.

The content of podcasts varies widely from educational and informative shows to entertaining and comedic programs. Some podcasts feature interviews with experts, celebrities, or ordinary people with interesting stories, while others focus on storytelling, news analysis, true crime, self-improvement, history, science, technology, or any other subject of interest.

QUESTION: How do you measure success of podcasts you create?
KATHI KRUSE: Podcasts are typically measured by the number of downloads. But some podcasters in specialized niches (me included) have smaller audiences, so downloads aren't as important. We do our podcast for fun and we're happy that others tell us how much they like the show.

QUESTION: How do you promote engagement of podcasts you create?
KATHI KRUSE: We share our episodes on social media, such as, Facebook and Linkedin. Our show has its own Twitter handle (@TheFirstPencil), but now that Twitter is dying, we'll move over to Threads. I also share links to the show in my weekly newsletter, which can be subscribed to at this link:

QUESTION: According to an article entitled, “Is Podcast Media Buying Worth It? What Every CMO Should Know,” the following was stated: “Podcast listeners will increase 6.1% year-over-year (YoY) to 125 million between 2021 and 2022. The podcast industry is projected to reach $94.88 billion by 2028 Podcast audiences are not only large and growing. They also tend to be young, affluent, educated, and generally receptive to podcast ads. These are the same audiences that marketers are trying so hard to reach, yet often get hamstrung by technologies, such as, ad blockers in other digital media.” Therefore, do you think podcast media buying is a worthwhile strategy, and can you please elaborate?
KATHI KRUSE: Yes! I was a long-time podcast listener before I started my podcast. The ads on podcasts are typically read by the hosts, which make them more trustworthy and often keep my attention. Instead of fast-forwarding past them, I will listen to them, especially when the hosts are funny (example: Pod Save America).

Also, research has shown that using headphones to listen to podcasts, which is typical, actually enhances our perceived intimacy with the hosts. Experiments found that a voice coming from ‘inside our heads’ can be twice as persuasive as one coming from a speaker. As a listener, this is 100% true. (Source here:

(Read the full article here:

QUESTION: Lastly, what are some podcasts that you listen to that have nothing to do with your business, and why?
KATHI KRUSE: Here's a very short list:

1. Smartless: Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes. Hilarious.

2. Something Was Wrong: Super helpful real-life stories of women who have endured and ultimately escaped relationships with narcissistic sociopaths.

3. Pivot: Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway talk tech and business - both have been my heroes for a long time for different reasons.

4. Pod Save America - the hosts are former Obama admin guys. They are funny, conduct smart political discussions, and provide ways to advocate for the causes I support with Vote Save America.

5. Lovett or Leave It: Jon Lovett (one of hosts of Pod Save America) does a weekly live show here in Los Angeles. He's a writer for film and TV, he's funny, and his guests are always great.

6. Just Jack and Will: Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack (of Will and Grace, of course) just began this pod where they do a breakdown of Will and Grace episodes. I have a personal connection with the show (a long time friend was a producer), so it makes me very happy to hear details about the production.

7. Hard Fork: Casey Newton (Platformer) and Kevin Roose (New York Times) talk about all things tech, AI, social, etc. Both are well-connected and get scoops regularly. They also make me laugh.

My thanks to Kathi for sharing her marketing insights and for appearing here on my Blog.

Image Credit: CDX via Wordswag.

Check out Kathi's previous appearance on my blog:
Social Media’s Impact on Employee Engagement and Customer Experiences (October 2021)

Connect with Kathi at these links: