We read a lot about “Boys’ Clubs”. They are power circles of men, mostly white, who control, formally or informally, organizations or silos within them.

The gender demographics of the senior leadership team may be relevant but is in no way dispositive as to whether a boys’ club exists. I have seen organizations with senior leadership teams lacking in gender diversity that are not, in my opinion, run by a boys’ clubs. Conversely, I have seen organizations where the numbers at the top look good in terms of gender diversity but a core “boys’ clubs” calls the shots.

So, how do you know if you have a boys’ club? Of course, there is no test. So, I have a created one.

Related: It's Time to Close the Workplace Gender Gap

Warning from this lawyer -- write your answers on a piece of paper and then throw away. Don’t want your self-evaluation to be used against you in litigation by a plaintiffs’ lawyer.

Emotions of this management lawyer -- I want to scream about my prior warning. There should be strong privilege against discovery for critical self-assessment with eye toward increasing equality ,maximizing compliance, etc.

Now, as for each of the five questions:

  1. If you generally agree, answer A
  2. If you are not sure, answer B
  3. If you generally disagree, answer C

The five questions:

  1. We don’t have a boys’ club.
  2. We don’t need a formal system to ensure equal access to meaningful opportunities; merit will prevail.
  3. More than a few of our sales and sales strategies informally take place in bars
  4. I think the gender pay gap is attributable not only to employer practices but also to employee choices.
  5. Women mentoring women is essential to shutting down the boys' club.

1. We don’t have a boys’ club.

Almost everyone knows that boys’ clubs exist. But many believe that they exist only at the employer next store. Certitude is a good thing. But, on this issue, a little doubt is a good thing. So give yourself:

  • Two points for A
  • Zero points for B and C

Related: 3 Ways for Women to Close the VC Gender Gap

2. We don’t need a formal system to ensure equal access.

Often the gender gap at the top is because women don’t have the opportunities they need to get there. Absence of meaningful opportunities also contributes to the gender pay gap. There is no one system always works. But “no system” never works.

No system often leads to what the EEOC calls “like me” bias. Those in charge of opportunities give them to those just like them -- often other men. So some vehicle to measure equal access to opportunity is essential. Merit will prevail but only if there is equal access to opportunity. Time to score it:

  • Two points for A
  • One points for B
  • Zero points for C

3. Sales and strategy meetings informally take place in bars.

Social inclusion is a form of business inclusion. Information is shared, strategies are developed and relationships formed and/or cemented. Of course, many men don’t relish business in bars. And, there are women who do. But the local watering hole is often the club house for the boys’ club. The same is true of the golf course. Okay, let’s score it:

  • Two points for A
  • Zero points for B and C

4. Pay gap due to employer practices and employee choices.

There is no doubt that there is a gender pay gap. Those who doubt it sound as credible as men who deny the existence of labor pains because they never have experienced them. But, the gender gap is not due solely to employer practices. If you step out of the game to be the primary caregiver, when you step back in, you will make less. And women are still more likely than men to be primary caregivers.

As for points, the pattern you may have predicted no longer holds.

  • Subtract 1 point if you picked A (you have thought about the issue)
  • No points for B or C but, if you picked C, you may see bias in certain cases where it does not exist.

Related: Why Are Business Owners Blamed For the Gender Pay Gap?

5. Women mentoring women will shut down the boys club.

No. And here’s why:

  • There are fewer women at the top so women mentoring women will deprive women disproportionately of access to the top
  • The burden of gender equality cannot be put entirely on women (particularly since men and women alike benefit from it)
  • The benefits to cross-gender matching are significant in terms of what each gender can impart and learn

Let’s score this one:

  • Two points for A
  • Zero points for B
  • Subtract one point if you picked C (again, very thoughtful)

Now, add up all of your points, subtracting points where you have earned them.

If you have five points or more, you may have a boys’ club, but don’t see it. If you have fewer than five points, you still may have a boys’ club, but you are primed to help dismantle it; please do.