Gen­der, racial eq­uity group sees op­por­tu­ni­ties in 2019

Tulsa World - - Datelines - By Cur­tis Kill­man Cur­tis Kill­man 918-581-8471 cur­tis.kill­man @tul­ Twit­ter: @lou­card­fan61

A grass-roots ef­fort in Tulsa to pro­mote gen­der and racial equal­ity con­tin­ues to grow, with plans afoot to ex­pand the lead­er­ship of the group and be­come more ac­tive in the com­mu­nity, an or­ga­nizer said.

Con­sul­tant Mana Ta­haie, who de­scribes her­self as a “con­venor” for Chang­ing the Sta­tus Quo, spoke about the group's up­com­ing plans. Chang­ing the Sta­tus Quo is a co­hort of Tulsa women

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who work in busi­ness, gov­ern­ment, non­prof­its and ed­u­ca­tion.

The group was founded by for­mer Mayor Kathy Tay­lor and Lisa Lazarus in 2017 with the goals of clos­ing the gen­der pay gap, ad­vanc­ing women to po­si­tions of lead­er­ship and stymieing a work­place cul­ture where the voices of women are un­der­val­ued.

The group's re­cent sur­vey of about 150 Tulsa women found that re­spon­dents ex­pe­ri­enced a sig­nif­i­cant im­bal­ance of power in fa­vor of men across the com­mu­nity.

Since then, the group has con­tin­ued to re­ceive in­put from its mem­bers, Ta­haie said.

For in­stance, par­tic­i­pants at an in­for­mal meet­ing in De­cem­ber voiced an in­ter­est in want­ing a place where mem­bers could con­nect with peo­ple who “shared their ex­pe­ri­ences and their iden­ti­ties,” Ta­haie said.

Par­tic­i­pants also in­di­cated a de­sire to be­come more in­volved in pol­i­tics and civics, she said.

The group is part­ner­ing with the Ok­la­homa Women's Coali­tion and plans to part­ner with oth­ers to col­lab­o­rate on new ideas, Ta­haie said.

Other plans in 2019 call for form­ing a multi­gen­er­a­tional mentorship pro­gram that matches ex­ec­u­tive women with peo­ple who are com­ing up in the work­place, Ta­haie said.

The group will soon be con­ven­ing a brain trust to ex­pand its lead­er­ship beyond Ta­haie and its orig­i­nal founders.

The goal is to have a “more di­verse group of peo­ple lead­ing the ef­fort, so it's not just a small num­ber of us de­cid­ing what it should look like,” Ta­haie said.

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