One of the subjects I have been trying to write a post about for our blog is ‘respecting and valuing difference’. This is one of the topics that ‘International Women’s Day’ has suggested needing to be tackled in its ‘Gender Parity’ pledge. Well I have been struggling with what to say about it. If I was honest I’ve become a bit disillusioned with the whole concept, dare I say I find the idea a bit dated!
It occurred to me the reason being that everything I have tried to write is stating the obvious, preaching to the converted. Depending on where in the world you are living of course.
It would make sense to say that our upbringing and culture have a huge influence on how we treat each other as human beings. In many cultures men and women are treated very differently from the day they are born. I personally know families where the female children are considered as less important, the weaker sex, they are desperate for a male child to pass on their legacy. Yes these attitudes need to change, but I think they are, slowly but surely and if you look back to how IWD was started, one reason was to help improve working conditions for women and men. We are all struggling to make progress and improve this world, we should remember that everyone is different regardless of gender and it is important that we work together as human beings and embrace our diversity as males and females.
Shocking as it may seem, the World Economic Forum has predicted that it will be 2133 before we achieve global gender parity. That is 117 years away, almost five generations into the future!
The 8th March is International Women’s Day. The organisation’s theme for 2016 is Parityand they are asking everyone – irrespective of gender – to commit to taking action towards accelerating gender parity: by helping women and girls achieve their ambitions; calling for gender-balanced leadership; respecting and valuing difference; developing more inclusive and flexible cultures or rooting out workplace bias.
Rebel In A Tutu intends to celebrate International Women’s Day by posting a series of blogs that touch upon each of these five issues.
Pay inequality: bias in the workplace…
In the mid-noughties I was employed by a multinational company as the first member of a new departmental team. Over the next three years this team expanded to six, all of whom (apart from me) were men. Just before I left the company I discovered that despite being the longest serving member of the team, and despite the fact that we all fulfilled the same role, all my male colleagues were paid atleast20% more than me. How did they get away with this? I may well be wrong, but I can only assume that as the company had no formalised pay grading system in place they could pay as little as they were able to get away with. According to Kim Elsesser, lecturer in psychology and gender at UCLA, there are a couple of solutions to closing the gender pay gap that could be implemented relatively easily and at low cost: implement pay transparency and eliminate negotiation. Ms Elsesser argues that if an employer’s payroll information was more readily available to its employees, it would be significantly harder for the employer to justify pay inequality and if pay negotiation was eliminated, women – who are statistically more reticent to argue for increased pay – would be less likely to accept a lower offer than their [male] peers.
Equal pay is just one aspect of gender parity so join the campaign – help accelerate gender parity and Make A Pledge Now!