Newswise — Women have been “leaning in,” but it hasn’t worked.

White women are still paid a fraction of what men earn, and Black and Latina women earn even less. Corporate management is still overwhelmingly white and male. Gender and racial bias persist, despite corporate America’s scattershot attempts at equity and women’s attempts to assimilate into the culture.

So, a pair of researchers from the University of Iowa and Babson College say it’s time to change the culture. Their new book “Shared Sisterhood: How to Take Collective Action for Racial and Gender Equity at Work” offers a plan for white, Black, and Latina women coming together to build alliances and take collective action to change the business structures that hold women back.

“We didn’t want to passively wait for other people to offer solutions anymore. We wanted to find a solution ourselves,” said Beth Livingston, associate professor of management & entrepreneurship at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, who co-authored the book with Tina Opie, associate professor of management at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass.

Livingston said that to create systemic change, Black, white, and Latina women must build their own alliances through vulnerability, trust, risk-taking, and empathy. Without building bridges to each other and acknowledging their own racial blind spots, she says, women won’t have the kind of trusting, authentic connections that they need while working together to make systemic change.

She says many authors have already convincingly identified the gender and racial biases that persist in American businesses and the larger society. “Shared Sisterhood” lays out a plan that employees and organizational leaders can actually use, offering dozens of practical tips that women can take to first bridge the gaps between them and how they can use their power to change their workplace. Each chapter concludes with questions for personal reflection or guide a group discussion that can help overcome roadblocks.

Livingston said they don’t expect to win everyone over with their ideas. She says that many people will probably actively resist change. But she said even a small percentage of an organization’s employees are enough of a coalition to pressure an organizational structure to change.

“We wrote this book to be hopeful and optimistic that we can make things better for everyone,” she said. “It’s not a gloom and doom book and it doesn’t make anyone feel guilty. If we didn’t believe we could provide a solution to the problem, we wouldn’t have written it.”

“Shared Sisterhood” is published by Harvard Business Review Press.

Book Link: Shared Sisterhood