Corporate women need to mind the gap
By Raeleen | 11 December 2015
I gave this presentation as a speaker at the Australian Institute of Management International Women’s Day debate in 2013 (you can watch my argument here). I believed it then, and I will keep saying it until we have managed to achieve true equality in the workplace: corporate women really do need to mind the gap!
Is the gap all in our head?
I don’t think so… Just because you are over something it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! I’m over the Kardashians, but they still exist. They’re out there, and they’re breeding!
So jump onboard ladies….
Welcome to our first station – the Pay gap.
There is a 17.6 % GAP between what women working full time earn and what men working full time earn. Don’t even get me started on the financial services sector with their pay gap coming in at a whopping 32.7%. In the corporate world, or any business world for that matter, your pay says so much about where you sit in the general hierarchy.
So at 82.4% pay does this mean we woman should do 82.4% of the work?
Can a trial lawyer tell her client, “No problem, I’ll get you 82.4% off those charges.” Can my dentist clean 82.4% of my teeth… I suggest not.
Yes, absolutely we have incredibly successful women like Gail Kelly, Therese Rein, Julie Bishop, Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook and Marissa Mayer CEO of Yahoo. These ladies unfortunately are very tall poppies in a massively stunted field. They certainly aren’t the norm.
It doesn’t stop there. Many women are behind the eight ball straight out of university. From the 2012 GradStats report by Graduate Careers Australia: Female architecture and building graduates start at 17.3% less salary than male graduates. And that’s just one stat. There is a gap here from the get go that’s proving impossible for corporate women to bridge.
Corporate women DO need to mind the PAY gap. On that note, let’s change tracks.
Women have babies. It’s pure and simple biology – we’ve got the bits!
Sadly, being blessed with the ability to grow life inside of us means we also have to deal with the mummy track: The Mummy Track is the diminishing opportunities of women in the workforce upon becoming mothers. That’s the technical description. But I like to describe it like this:
Whoops, we have a uterus and may use it some day! Having kids means we can’t possibly manage our commitments. Women who have babies should not be fast tracked to la la land! Yeah for sure, some career trains might pass us by or disappear down the proverbial tunnel never to be seen again. But we’re not asking for the first class carriage! We are just asking for the opportunity to get back onboard and at least have a seat on the career train. Corporate women DO need to mind the MUMMY TRACK gap!
Now we come to our old friend the Perception gap.
The Perception gap station has seen more gaps than a Bob Katter policy document.
Why is it that I can walk into a room with a male colleague and still have everyone including women in that room turn to him for the answers? Why is there the perception that because he’s wearing the pants that he’s the one with the knowledge? Trousers do not necessarily equal brains.
And of course all women are cry babies. The perception is that women are overly emotional, prone to hormonal outbursts and therefore impossible to manage or incapable of leading anything.
And finally we can’t forget the biggest perception gap of all. Whilst it’s incredibly illegal in a job interview to ask questions like… What are your plans for a family? The fact is the unconscious bias exists. That women will let the team down at some point or another because of their family responsibilities.
Corporate women DO need to mind the PERCEPTION gap.
I think we all know the gap shouldn’t exist, but I think we also know that in reality, it does. Now, I don’t have any daughters; just two sons. But there’s no way I want them to grow up in a world where the mere fact of their masculinity means they think they deserve:
- Higher pay
- An unconscious gender bias
- And better opportunities.
I also know that the only way to ensure that this is not the world my children …….. and yours …….. grow up in is to:
Up for a bit of empowerment today?
Want to talk about the gender gap some more? Contact me.