Lecturer Ruchika Tulshyan fights for equality in new book ‘The Diversity Advantage’
Seasoned Content Strategist and Journalist Ruchika Tulshyan has no problem telling it like it is when it comes to unfair biases for women in the workplace. She began an op-ed piece for The Seattle Times with one stand-alone sentence: “Washington state has a working woman problem.”
Tulshyan has been writing about women in the workplace for Forbes.com for five years and has recently taken her research of the topic to the next level.
“I started realizing that a lot of the work I was doing was around what women should be doing to be better in the workplace – they should lean in, they should negotiate – but as I was progressing in my own career, especially at institutional organizations, I found that there were a lot barriers within the organization that needed to change,” she said. “It wasn’t good enough for me to just lean in, I felt that the organization should also be leaning in.”
Tulshyan’s thoughts, research, and interviews turned into a 35,000 word eBook for Forbes titled, “The Diversity Advantage: Fixing gender inequality in the workplace.” Her passion stems from her upbringing – her parents are Indian, she was raised in Singapore, and she later moved to the United Kingdom and then the United States four years ago. She saw common challenges across countries when it came to support for women as entrepreneurs or career women.
“I saw a huge difference between the women who, from a societal standpoint, were allowed to work and were supported to do so and the empowerment they had in their families versus the women that were not allowed to work and were subjected to more of the traditional mindset of what a women’s role should be in the world,” Tulshyan said. “I started observing real patterns – it affected their self-confidence and I saw a difference in how the female children would think of their roles in society.”
Tulshyan dedicated the book to her mom Seema with the words, “You always believed.”
“Among the Indian society my mom was never supported to work and she always wanted to,” Tulshyan said. “She has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and she’s a problem-solver whether it has to do with our Wi-Fi not working or investment decisions. A lot of my inspiration throughout these years thinking about women’s role in the world and what support they need came from seeing my mom.”
Tulshyan said she hopes the book will encourage organizations of all sizes and across industries to step back and think about how they are showing up for women today. Are women getting paid fairly? Are women getting opportunities to advance? How many women are being hired?
Although she receives critical feedback, mostly from the majority population of older white men, Tulshyan said it is all worth it.
“Getting to talk to so many women and doing speaking engagements about the book and my mission far outweighs the angry commenters,” she said. “That’s how I don’t get deterred.”
Tulshyan also brought her ideas to the classroom this fall quarter to teach “Journalism in a Diverse Society” at the UW Department of Communication. Read articles by her students >>