Establishing equality and fairness is a fundamental human right, yet it has been one of humanity’s greatest challenges. Although women have made many strides and gains in the workforce, “equal pay day” is no where to be seen on the horizon. During the last couple of decades, the gap narrowed gradually. However, in most countries around the world, there is still a substantial gender pay gap, except for few cases of a remarkable reduction. But even this slow progress has stalled in recent years. According to the World Economic Forum’s forecast on the average pay for both genders globally, women will not earn equally as men for 217 years.
As for the United States, in 2017 the gap was still 20 percent, and we are at least 70 years away from closing the gender pay gap completely based on the latest data. If progress continues at the alarming rate seen since 2001, pay equity between men and women in the US won’t be reached until 2119. The gender gap manifests itself across the entire economy, when the pay of all women is compared to the pay for all men.
The issue is a lot more complex than simply unequal numbers on pay stubs, and the significant contributors to disparities run as deep in our psyches as they do in the very infrastructural fabric of our societies. We reached out to more than 30 CEOs and executives and asked them what they saw as the causes for the gender pay gap, and what we can do as a society to correct this.
Rania Hoteit is the CEO of ID4A Technologies, named one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur magazine under her leadership. She is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, sought after expert judge on global startup competitions, international public speaker, advisor, author and social impact leader in gender equality, women empowerment, education and industry innovation with multiple recognitions from the White House, the UK Parliament, and other prestigious awards. Throughout her executive career, she worked in cross-disciplinary collaborations with leading global companies across design, technology, and business innovation, and led many proprietary R&D projects and innovative processes in advanced manufacturing and robotic technologies. With her depth of expertise and success record as an entrepreneur, Rania has been a valuable asset for many mature technology startup companies in the USA and around the world, holding advisory positions through which she guides their innovation transformation and drives their business growth. Rania was recognized amongst 55 global leaders at the United Nations Global People’s Summit during the UN General Assembly where she discussed the global production and manufacturing pipeline and how automation, Ai and Robotics can reduce global exploitation of labor. She’s been featured in many notable publications including HuffPost, Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Economist, Doer Society, Thrive Global and more. She was recognized alongside Melinda Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Malala Yousafzai and other significant women leaders ‘who have successfully built outstanding brands’ in a survey published by Parazim. Rania was also one of the only 50 global women leaders and authors from around the world who were featured in “50 Inspiring Voices of Migrant Women: From Struggle to Success”, an inspirational and educational book that shares stories of migrant entrepreneurs as role models, and that was launched at the UK House of Parliament where she also received an award for “outstanding achievement in her career and her contribution as a migrant woman in the USA”.
Among many more causes, there are 3 major reasons why Gender Pay Gap still exists today:
1. Gender Biases and Discrimination in Hiring Processes: The gender pay gap is one of the many reflections of gender bias that women face everyday. What does gender bias exactly have to do with paychecks? With all the deeply engrained negative stereotypes, flawed perceptions and popularized sexist ideologies about women’s abilities and opportunities, issues such as pay disparity, occupational segregation and fewer leadership opportunities continue to persist in our societies. Women are often stereotyped from the very first glance. An employer’s bias, whether conscious or not, normally results in not rating women as highly capable, underestimating their intelligence, undervaluing the work female employees do, and consequently not paying them their due. Although education increases earnings for all women, it is not an effective tool to close the gender pay gap and ensure equity. On average, women are still paid less than men despite holding the same job title, similar work experience and education levels. When a woman ends her formal education and begins employment, the gap might be small but it tends to increase with age, hence differences among older workers are considerably larger than gaps among younger ones. In addition, wages are affected by race and ethnicity as well as gender. While women earn less than men despite academic achievements, white women earn more than asian, black, and hispanic women at all education levels. In fact, women who hold college degrees are less likely to pay off their debts and students loans punctually, and end up paying more and for a longer time than men. Think about how this impacts lives in the United States where women hold nearly two thirds of the outstanding student debt. There is also an implicit bias against working mothers. Studies show that when compared with men and childless women, new moms are often perceived to have lower competence and commitment, and they face higher professional expectations and a lower chance of hiring and promotion. Women’s decisions to leave the workforce have more to do with corporate barriers than with childcare and household duties, which results in 14 percent of the wage gap. Therefore, it is important to settle one simple truth: pay discrepancy is a direct result of extensive gender bias and discrimination against women in the workplace, combined with a general undervaluation of women’s work, and employers are responsible for systemizing such disparities by creating hostile environments within their organizations.
2. Poor Negotiation Skills and Lack of Confidence: Closing the gender pay gap requires women to negotiate more for what they want. From my experience advising hundreds of entrepreneurs, founders, employees and students in STEM, most women are often unprepared to answer fundamental existential questions such as why they do what they do, what are their priorities, what do they want to achieve, and how much they want to accomplish in their careers and in life. As a result, they fail to effectively communicate what they want and to persuasively negotiate in order to get it. They often have lower expectations because they lack the confidence in their competencies to reach higher. It is common that they systematically achieve less not because they are women, but because they have lower expectations that drive their behavior to settle for less. There is also a differential treatment of men and women when they attempt to negotiate. Employers tend to penalize female candidates more than male candidates for initiating negotiations, specially when evaluators are males. Hence, women are less likely to negotiate their salary than men, and in many cases they fear that advocating for higher pay for themselves might present them with a socially awkward situation or difficult conversation that they are not trained to handle. This hesitation combined with lack of confidence and poor negotiation skills come at a huge cost. If salaries are not negotiated from the beginning, women can accumulate considerable monetary losses over time throughout their careers.
3 . Differences in Industry and Occupation: One of the biggest causes accounting for half of the wage gap is the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles and high paying professions in business, politics, education, and STEM. For women of color, leadership opportunities are particularly elusive with fewer than 4 percent of executive officers and managers. Since STEM careers are projected to be some of the most sought-after in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the present disparity is a real obstacle to gender parity. While parents and schools play a critical role, there’s also a perception issue to be remedied by the industry itself. It is still highly uncommon to expect women in these fields. I can speak from my position as a CEO and one of the few women leaders around the world in both male dominated industries, Technology and Manufacturing. Women constitute manufacturing’s largest pool of untapped talent in the United States. The tech trailblazers are also lagging behind in gender equality. Female employees are underrepresented across the workforces of eight tech industry giants based on the latest survey by Statista. In the worst performing companies, Microsoft and Google, women struggled to make up a third of the total workforce. Only 15% of tech roles at Twitter are occupied by women. Not one of the companies surveyed had reached equal gender representation in their workforce, and they all had too few women in leadership roles and doing tech jobs. From my experience as a woman, leading my company to the forefront of advanced manufacturing and robotic technologies required tremendous determination to push through blockades of sexism. It is no surprise that less than 15% of women are in senior leadership and executive positions. Of all S&P 500, men still hold 75% of executive and senior-level jobs, 80% of board seats, 94% of CEO positions, and just about 80% of the seats in Congress. Basically, the further we move up the ladder, the fewer women are there.
We must realize that leveling the field between men and women will have tremendous economic benefits. Diversity is our main key to unlocking growth and building a long lasting, strong, and inclusive economy. Based on a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, equal pay can add an additional income of $512.6 billion to the U.S. economy alone and cut poverty rate by half. Another recent report by McKinsey Global Institute found that minimizing the gender gap in labor force participation holds the potential to add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. However, in order to reap the benefits, we must get to the root causes by addressing gender biases in hiring processes, and removing obstacles that keep women from advancing within the workplace both in magnitude and levels of seniority. It will require major reforms at all organizational, individual, and political levels to correct this:
1. Organizational Leadership: Equality cannot be an afterthought. It must be embedded in the company’s culture. The first policy I crafted as a CEO we named the “One-for-One”, where for every man we hire a woman at the exact same wages, and vice versa. Over the last 4 years of growth, we made conscious efforts to seek out female talents and increase equality between our employees. In the process, we train our global team of men and women on gender bias, and provide tools and strategies forcing mindsets shifts to cultivate healthy relationships, help them to see each other as equals, and to cooperate efficiently and respectfully. All this produced phenomenal business growth. If I didn’t set the tone from the get-go, we would have been just another bad example. CEOs and business leaders must set the tone and proactively cultivate diversity, monitor gender discrimination, conduct salary audits, address gender pay differences and commit to paying workers fairly. It’s also unrealistic to think that equal pay is a one-and-done fix with a finish line. It’s something that has to be reviewed and addressed regularly as there are many factors that can contribute to pay discrepancies, from unequal pay inherited to bias in hiring and promotion practices.
2. Eliminating Forms of Discrimination Against Women: Discrimination and inequality are two distinct problems. They are not one and the same, but they’re both important factors. While gender pay gap is a metric that helps us to measure difference in wages or incomes between men and women, it doesn’t capture inequality accounting for the underlying differences along other dimensions, such as treatment in education, experience, occupation etc.. Large pay gaps might exist in the absence of discrimination, where women are being treated fairly but paid unequally to men. Conversely, discrimination in hiring processes might exist in the absence of wage gaps. That said, both discrimination and inequality must be tackled, because neither one is a sufficient indicator on its own of what women experience in the workplace. Thus organizations must continue to evaluate their data, improve the hiring and compensation processes, as well as taking the appropriate measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women by any person within the organization or enterprise, and providing a legal framework for women’s empowerment and participation in the development process of such measures. It is not enough to pay women same as men, yet still perceive them as “less than” in any way.
3. Women Empowerment, Education and Training: Most importantly, achieving equal pay requires empowering women at an individual level. We can teach women strategies to better negotiate their salaries and advocate for their rights when it comes to promotions and benefits. Girls’ education is also fundamental to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as advocating for the right of women and girls to equality and quality in education, life-long training, including pre-school provision, elimination of stereotyped teaching and education materials, diversification of the educational and training opportunities available to women and girls, and the promotion of self-esteem and leadership in girls. Providing employment and job training, as well as literacy training, for women past traditional school age should be an area of special focus. Women in leadership and high paying careers should be the expectation and not the exception.
4. Building Strategies for Cooperation With Men: Closing the gender pay gap requires a commitment to gender equality which means men must actively engage to change the culture that is hindering the advancement of women from the classroom to the boardroom. There are lots of changes in the business world, and our current political and social climates are increasingly divisive. The diversity challenges of male dominated industries and sexist corporate cultures also reveal the profound need for more enlightened men allies who can have an impact on pushing the case for gender equity.
5. Advocating For Fair Policies: On a political level, the inclusion of a range of civil society actors, Heterogeneous groupings of representatives from different disciplines, the public and private sectors, all will serve to consolidate a critical mass of support for gender-sensitive programming and will ensure that the voices and visions of women at the grassroots level are brought into policy-making processes. Improving the scope of Equal Pay Act and updating the Paycheck Fairness Act can enhance federal enforcement efforts by offering stronger incentives for employers to obey the law, and prohibiting retaliation against workers negotiating salaries or asking about wage practices. Advocating for fair policies such as equal pay, equal parental leave policies, equal opportunities for advancement, and other measures are also crucial to legitimize gender issues and reduce biases. Additionally, when men’s voices join women in advocating for these policies on the corporate, state, and national level, we double our collective power and speed up the process towards closing the gender pay gap.
The main takeaway from all this is that the causes of the gender wage gap are complex and require closer examination, as well as interdisciplinary problem-solving approaches and cooperation strategies at a national and global level to ensure successful implementation. We can’t truly close the gender pay gap without leveling equality between genders. Until we seriously commit to gender equality and consciously address gender biases and barriers, it will be extremely challenging to integrate women fairly and efficiently within the global economy. There is never enough initiative to solve these issues globally which means we are all responsible for leading efforts.
Michael Fraccaro is the chief human resources officer of Mastercard. In this role, he is responsible for all human resources (HR) functions globally, including driving cultural transformation, building leadership capability and creating a company that is “most valued to work for.” He is a member of the company’s management committee.
From 2012 until assuming his current role, Michael served as executive vice president of human resources for the company’s Global Products and Solutions business. In this role, he supported the company’s growth in key businesses and markets and optimized talent programs in a competitive environment. He also was responsible for leading the global HR integration of new acquisitions and joint ventures.
Prior to joining Mastercard, Michael was a core member of the HR leadership team at HSBC Group for nearly 12 years, based in Hong Kong. Earlier, he held senior HR positions in banking and financial services in Australia and the Middle East, working extensively across different cultures.
Michael holds a Masters of Applied Science, Communication Management from the University of Technology, Sydney, and a Bachelor of Education from the Australian Catholic University. He also has accreditation in change management from the Australian Graduate School of Management and attended leadership programs at Duke Fuqua and INSEAD.
Mastercard has been recognized by Gender Fair as a company that demonstrates real and substantial commitment to women’s equality as employees, consumers and citizens.
There should be no dispute that women and men deserve to be paid equally for equal work. But the first step in this very important discussion, is to define what actually makes up a wage gap. Sometimes this term is interchanged with equal pay and while both impact the amount of compensation women receive, the issues and solutions are quite different. Equal pay means that men and women at the same levels are paid equally for equal performance. This is a principle that we infuse into our business around the world.
The gender pay gap actually looks at the difference between men and women’s average and median earnings across an organization irrespective of level and often highlights the imbalance of male versus female leaders. The primary challenge facing companies today therefore is not solely a pay gap but a talent gap of women being represented at senior levels.
Other considerations in the debate of wage gap numbers includes gender differences in occupations and industries, such as technology versus nursing. There are also career interruptions often associated with family care or illness, which may lead to shorter working hours. Indeed, current research continues to find evidence that marital status and the presence of children can account for a part of the gap.
I believe it’s important to ground equal pay in principles of fairness and transparency, where the consideration of personal skills, performance, experience and abilities also factor into compensation, all evaluated through objective criteria. When it comes to job satisfaction, employees want to be respected for the value they bring to the workplace, and they rightly expect to be paid accordingly.
We know that if we fall short of competitive pay levels, our talent will respond by seeking better opportunities elsewhere, and we will be at risk of our competitors recruiting our best and brightest. It also doesn’t align with our culture and ethos as an employer to be the place where the best people choose to be.
Examining pay practices in organizations is only part of the solution. What is needed is a more holistic approach including the review of education and workforce development systems and ensuring greater diversity across all job-types and levels. This is not a quick fix solution but will require the collaboration of employers, policy makers and educational institutions to make a sustained impact.
I believe there is an opportunity for companies to reimagine recruitment, development and retention strategies for women. This starts with simple but effective monitoring and measurement, such as delivering diverse candidate slates for all openings and reviewing conversion rates. Other considerations are more visionary in terms of creating the right learning, experiences and programs that will fuel the talent pipeline and help reduce barriers to equal representation.
Firstly, as a technology company, our journey starts with how to inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM. I am a huge advocate for our Girls4Tech program, a customized hands-on curriculum designed and delivered by our employees with the goal of reaching 200,000 girls globally by 2020. We are present at every stage of education, right through to working with student programs to offer internships and ultimately hire junior talent.
Secondly, nurturing an inclusive culture that retains the best talent, requires a deep understanding of how people want to work today. We embed flexibility into business so conversations lead with results not hours. We expanded our parental leave policy and launched a ‘returnship’ program for people rejoining the workforce after extended leave. Returners are immersed for 12 weeks into commercial projects, with job training, mentorship, learning resources and coaching.
We embrace the unique strengths and views of our employee Business Resource Groups — individuals aligned through common experiences such as gender or ethnicity. Our Women Advancing Technology Today group brings feedback and inspiration for new initiatives to management. They also foster relationships with organizations and mentor young women interested in technology careers.
Thirdly, I’m laser focused on how to make leadership training relevant and dynamic for women at Mastercard. Based on feedback, we’ve launched a new Women’s Leadership Program, offering academic and hands-on opportunities to broaden skillsets and inform policies.
Lastly, we have a leadership team and CEO setting the tone for everyone and reinforcing our culture of decency. The team is committed to increasing representation of diverse groups throughout the company, setting goals and action plans that can be reviewed regularly. We absolutely view fostering diverse teams as a leadership skill, to be refined and measured at all levels.
We should all continue to listen, learn and work to reduce the opportunity gaps that exist, not just because it’s the right thing to do but because when you have a diverse team, insights are stronger, innovation flourishes, and ultimately we all win.
Rona Borre founded Instant Alliance in 2001 and her company has since become a nationally recognized, woman-owned business enterprise, consistently increasing revenue year over year. She continues to prove good talent can be a major differentiating factor in an organization’s success, and she works closely with each of her employees to ensure that clients are partnered with the premier talent in order to get the job done. Rona is most comfortable working directly with her clients and alongside her employees, helping to foster the collaborative environment Instant Alliance has become known for. Her unique approach leading Instant Alliance is in the recruitment process that sets them apart from the competition. Rona’s approach allows her clients to focus on what they do best and leave finding key resources up to her and her team. Her playbook is original and innovative , she offers white glove, high-touch niche expertise and treats each opening as an original search, constantly evaluating the impact that each position will have on the future growth of that organization. She believes in having at least one member of her leadership team involved in every search to ensure the most creative and agile recruiting methods are being implemented. Instant Alliance is known for its unconventional recruiting methods and goes beyond just searching from its database. This equation has led to a 97% client return rate and the continued opportunity to work with clients for several years as a trusted advisor and partner. As a leader in the Chicago community, Rona sits on the board and holds leadership roles with the Economic Club of Chicago, the Young Presidents Organization and The Chicago Network. She has received several awards including The Business Ledger’s Influential Women in Business and Enterprising Woman of the Year by Enterprising Women Magazine. She received her BS in Business from University of Arizona. Rona is passionate about her three children and helping companies achieving their goals by pairing them with the absolute best talent.
I think the gender wage gap is caused by a combination of factors, the largest of them being institutionalized gender discrimination. Put simply, women have been paid less than men for years, and changing this standard will not happen overnight. I still can’t believe that it was less than 100 years ago that women earned the right to vote in our country, but that’s the way it is. Women have traditionally been seen as mothers first and breadwinners second, and even in modern day America, this underlying perception of our roles in society persists. So we’re held up against this standard of being able to raise children while simultaneously excelling at the office. I don’t mean to blame all of this on men, either. We women hold ourselves and each other to extremely high standards, and we’re really hard on one another. If we’re too focused on our careers, we’re bad mothers and wives. If we’re too focused on raising our families, we aren’t putting enough effort in at work. And I think we hold ourselves back sometimes too. Whether we don’t think we’re good enough for the promotion we want, or we don’t think we’re qualified to be managing men, we sell ourselves short and actually get in our own way.
I would challenge women first to start pursuing the jobs that they are passionate about, whether or not those jobs fall within traditionally male-dominated fields. I started in the tech world at a young age and worked really hard to get to where I am today, but I realize how intimidating those industries can be. Success in these fields for women isn’t impossible, but I think too many of us women assume it won’t be worth the hard work. We think that we won’t be considered for a role because of our gender or will be immediately out-qualified by the men in the room. This is evident in the fact that women only apply for jobs they are 100% qualified for, while men apply for jobs even if they only meet 60% of the required skills. We need to start giving ourselves more credit and demanding the respect and job recognition that we deserve. Then, we need to support one another. We need to make sure both men and women alike are supporting women in their endeavors in these traditionally male fields. That being said, if we’re going to ask that men respect us in our careers, we need to make sure we as women as giving each other that support and respect as well. I see way too many situations in which women are tearing each other down, and it is so frustrating. We’re all up against the same obstacles, and the last thing we need is to add further challenges for our female counterparts.
Steven Benson is the Founder and CEO of Badger Maps, the #1 route planner for field salespeople (www.badgermapping.com). After receiving his MBA from Stanford, Steve’s career has been in field sales with companies like IBM, Autonomy, and Google , becoming Google Enterprise’s Top Performing Salesperson in the World in 2009. He has been selected as one of the Top 40 Most Inspiring Leaders in Sales Lead Management.
Badger Maps was founded in 2012 to help field salespeople be more successful. The app visualizes sales data on a map, optimizes daily routes, and generates meeting reports — helping users drive less and sell more.
Steve’s sales training began at IBM’s Global Sales School, it continues with the thousands of talented reps using Badger daily. By sharing his experience, Steve’s goal is to help today’s outside sales reps reach peak performance.
Badger’s headquarters are in San Francisco and other offices in Salt Lake City and Granada, Spain. As the CEO, Steve is passionate about coaching and mentoring his team at Badger Maps and empowering people to find their best career path and thrive in their role.
The wage gap between men and women doesn’t get enough attention, especially in Silicon Valley. Studies show the gap exists but we need more scientific research that explains why it exists and continues to affect equal pay.
In the same role, there isn’t any reason for a man and woman of equal skill to be paid different amounts. Society has evolved to a point where we see the hypocrisy in how we treat female employees, but issues like the wage gap prove there’s a long way to go.
In some cases, women are ignored for raises and promotion opportunities because of the negative stereotypes that persist about women in roles across the country. Silicon Valley has a slightly better pay rate, but women are still paid less than men 69% of the time.
Some people think it’s because men tend to ask for promotions and pay raises more aggressively. In truth the disparity happens earlier, as soon as women are offered a salary — the offer is 3% less than offers made to men.
Women are passed over for opportunities more often than men are. Men are typically first in line for promotions, and most companies restrict opportunities to an old boys club network who are eligible for actual advancement in the workplace. This influences the wage gap massively and it prevents women from reaching a level they can reliably advance from.
At Badger Maps we have an equal pay policy for all full-time employees at equal rank. Paying men and women equally helps foster a friendly and honest work environment.
At Badger, when we hire people into a given role, we pay them the same starting salary regardless of their gender identity, sex, ethnicity, origin, pregnancy, race, religion, etc. The only way to do this is to standardize hiring salaries for a given role, because as soon as the salary is negotiable, you will end up with people making different amounts for doing the same job. Paying people equally regardless of their gender identity helps create a fair and open work environment.
We also hire the best person for the job regardless of their background or gender. With that strategy, we’ve ended up with a diverse team made up of about 50% female employees. The takeaway is that you tend to naturally end up with a gender-balanced team if you eliminate bias in your hiring process. That results in more women in leadership roles as well.
While bias-free hiring is standard practice in technology companies throughout the Bay Area, many corner themselves by only hiring from Ivy League and other upper echelon schools. This practice prevents companies from building a strong and diverse culture. At Badger, we recognize that there are thousands of highly qualified people who may have taken different paths towards education or experience. Educational pedigree alone is not as important as a ready, qualified, and eager candidate.
Furthermore, we pay and treat everyone equally at Badger. That practice is backed up by policies that hold us accountable as a company. For example, consider our parental leave policy:
At Badger, parental leave (for mothers and fathers) is fully-paid for six consecutive weeks, which are not charged against the employee’s other paid leave credits. After the six weeks have been exhausted, the employee can decide to either come back to work full-time or take Additional Parental Leave.
Under this Additional Parental Leave, for up to 12 weeks, the employee can choose to either take a subsequent unpaid leave or to come back to work part-time half-days at half pay. This additional part-time working arrangement may be extended. That means that you can be both an awesome attentive parent, and a valuable employee at Badger Maps with great career development opportunities.
I strongly believe that flexibility and family-friendly policies are essential to cultivating a positive atmosphere where everyone is treated equally and fairly.
Sophie Miles was born and educated as a typical European girl. She studied marketing at the Polytechnic of Torino, and worked for a company that has offered her move to USA. Where she worked as ‘Senior Marketing and Communications Officer’ for 16 years in a well-known bank.
In 2009, she decided to start her own project, which now is a multinational website specialized in the comparison of financial products. In that year, she and her colleague decided to return to Europe to shape this crazy idea of a website to compare credits and insurance with the goal of helping people get into the financial world. In less than 10 years, they fleshed out the concept, wrote a business plan and set it up. Now they are leaders in all Europe and Latin America, selling out their products even to the competitors.
Finally, last year she decided to go back to the United States to lead the expansion to USA, Canada and South Africa. Currently she is living in New York, has three children and fights for gender equality and equal payment between genders.
The equal payment between genders is not a fight in the fields of skills. It is not about the size of the brain, what is the maximum load we can carry, or other anatomical difference. I even dare to say that it is not about maternity, responsibilities as a mother or licenses for being a woman.
It is about time. We are talking about breaking traditions and popular beliefs about what women should or should not do. We are talking about what our grandmothers thought was right and what our granddaughters think it should be. We are talking about a cultural change between generations and changing our foundations as a society.
Nowadays this change has moral, scientific and even political support. We have bells that sound around the world, from ,˜Ni una menos’ to #metoo. It makes us grow as a society and as a specie; there is no doubt about that. Regretfully this deep change is making us wait in the professional plane. Even today, we see these statistics and you are surprised to think that we are still halfway there.
Based on my own experience of the last 25 years and having participated in 4 different companies, I can assure you that the market is governed by other rules. For the labor market to adopt this change, it has nothing to do with what is politically correct, or what is meant to be.
To have equal pay we must first have equal access to jobs. That is, we have to have equal opportunities; I am talking about gender equality. More and more companies should have equal numbers of women than men in their ranks. Moreover, if we gradually start to take action in a large scale it will not be long we realize that gender equality is healthy for our workspaces, healthy for our business and healthy for our companies.
Second, encourage women to reach higher positions. I can assure there are still many seats that must be conquered by women. Several of them in top management positions that today are still leading by men. In fact, women made up only 16.3% of CEO positions in 2015–2016. Even others studies suggest that firms should maintain at least some level of gender diversity in their company boards and top management positions. The evidence of positive results from having women represented in companies is already strong enough to be taken seriously.
We have to convince ourselves that gender equality is not an option, it is an essential resource for your company. We have all the arguments to close the Gender Wage Gap, but like all time struggle we need patience.
Here is a publication in which I talk a little more about what we can do:
KEN LEREN has extensive technological expertise in digital marketing. Over the last decade, he has worked across multichannel marketing campaigns, bringing in-depth experience in lead generation and performance marketing strategies. Having identified a gap in the market for performance management software, he founded Tech Essence and launched Marketing Town, a campaign management, tracking and analytics platform, to help businesses realise digital potential through innovative use of technology.
Tech Essence is a SaaS-based marketing technology solution provider, specialising in helping marketing professionals make informed decisions on measuring and optimising their multi-channel marketing efforts. Notable clients include: Amazon, Dennis Publishing and the FT.
In 2017, Ken was named one of the top leaders in the industry by PerformanceIN; was highly commended in the Tech Business of the Year category & was selected as a finalist for the People’s Champion award at the Startups Awards; he was also included within the MadTech edition of The Fresh Business Thinking Shift 100.
Furthermore, in the same year Tech Essence was recognised as one of the top startups in the UK (Startups 100 2017 Index) and was shortlisted for the ‘UK Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ Award at the UK IT Industry Awards.
The gender pay gap is a complex issue with many contributing factors that are often interlinked. Before equality legislation it was possible for companies to deliberately discriminate against women by paying them less than men for doing the same role. However, despite the best intentions legislation has not solved the pay gap issue because gender discrimination is not black and white and companies have taken advantage of the ambiguity and have continued to favour men over women.
If you look into roles that require similar skills, qualifications, experience and hours but that are typically filled primarily by a single gender e.g. cleaners, care staff, refuse collectors, street cleaners you will find that the wages and payment structures vary considerable — in favour of the male dominated roles.
Furthermore, it’s widely known that managers tend to hire and mentor people who are similar to themselves. Given that male-heavy management structures are common, younger men are often recruited over younger women, they receive more coaching and are seen as a better cultural fit. This is not ok and it must stop.
Another contributing factor is gender stereotypes that have been embedded in society since the 1950s. Despite the 70 years that have passed, today, women are still seen (consciously or unconsciously) as mothers/homemakers no matter how well they perform in their role and as a consequence are often overlooked for promotion and thus receive lower pay overall.
Senior management teams are at fault, deliberately or not, conducting and therefore condoning, practices that keep the gender pay gap alive. Governments are also at fault for not introducing watertight legislation sooner. Organisations and individuals need to take responsibility for reversing this trend.
Sadly, history shows us that gaining equality is more often than not a fight. During World War One women performed traditionally male jobs to fill the gap left by men being called up to fight in the armed forces. In 1918 it emerged that female tram and bus conductors were being paid less than men doing the same role. Those women had to go on strike to force equal pay as it was not forthcoming.
Fifty years later, in 1968, news broke that women machinists at the Ford Car Plant in Dagenham, Essex, who sewed covers for car seats were being paid 87% of men’s wages and their work had been downgraded to ,˜unskilled’. After a 3-week long strike, the female machinists returned to work accepting a pay increase that saw them earn 92% of their male peers’ salary.
It is astonishing that another 50 years later (and 100 years after the bus and tram conductors’ strike) , we are still facing the problem of a gender pay gap.
To address the issue, we need to have more women at board level — NOW. Not in 10 years time, not in two years time. If boards continue to be male-dominated, men will continue to be promoted over women, more men will be hired compared to women and the cycle will never be broken, the problem will never be fixed.
This is easiest done by following the Norwegian and Scandinavian path of forcing 40% representation of each gender on public company boards. There is a great deal of debate about the value of introducing quotas with detractors arguing that quotas create positive discrimination but it doesn’t have to play out that way.
In order to make quotas work certain things need to be addressed ahead of enforcement. Job descriptions need to be reviewed — if you want to appoint a woman to a company board today and the previous experience required reads must have worked at board level for the past 10 years at a similar company you’re going to fail, because you won’t find a woman with that experience (because of the gender gap). A secondary benefit of widening job profiles is that you will experience diversity gains beyond gender — the door will open for people of different backgrounds, education and experience.
This approach then needs to trickle down the entire organisation to create a diverse culture and equality from the top down. Now is the time for organisations and governments to act, not talk.
I am a business owner, entrepreneur. I am an attorney with a JD/MBA from Pepperdine University. I served as a partner at an LA based law firm in the area of intellectual property and corporate law. I made a decision to move in-house to one of my clients, which was ultimately acquired by Intuit. I then served as the General Manager of our corporate division at Intuit. In 2009, I was able to acquire the company out of Intuit and now am the sole owner of MyCorporation.com. I now run and manage the business strategy. We have found great success in a highly commoditized industry, and we continue to grow and thrive.
I have experience in the world of corporate and entrepreneurial ventures and I serve on multiple boards. I currently hold a position on the Board of Regents of California Lutheran University, and I serve as a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs. I write for outlets such as Forbes, American Express, Huffington Post and Business Insider. I also have two teenage boys and a husband who owns a clothing manufacturing company (an entrepreneur himself).
The gender gap is caused by multiple factors. First, women often have gaps in their employment resulting from entering and leaving the workforce to have children. Certainly, many women find their role as parent to be critical, so it is reasonable that gaps would exist due to inconsistency that women tend to have (more than women) in the workforce. When there is less consistency in a career, it is more difficult to advance up the pay scale. Women may have different priorities and salary may not be the key one. They are interested in flexible schedules, ability to work in an environment they enjoy and focus on intangibles in a career. Men tend to be more driven by the financial component.
Second, women sell themselves short. Many women are willing to settle and have lower expectations. They are often less willing to negotiate. This yields lower pay. Negotiation and confidence must be a part of the salary discussion for women.
Third, by and large, women are often secondary breadwinners. They view their salary as supplementary, so they do not find the financial component of their jobs to be the most critical. They are willing to settle and see the role as a value to the family, but not necessarily essential.
First, women should not sell themselves short. It is critical to go into salary negotiations with confidence. Women need to know their value and they need to be clear about their value proposition with potential employers.
Self-confidence and an unrelenting ability to make yourself valuable within an organization will yield higher salaries. Even if you start lower, work your way up. Be committed, work hard, make yourself invaluable. Employers value employees who make themselves more valuable in their positions, and they are willing to pay more for those employees. Women (or men) who do this, will get paid more.
Do not leave the workforce to have children. Instead, get creative, find a flexible schedule, make raising your children a team effort. Stay engaged in the workforce so that your salary can remain consistent and growing.
Do not settle. If you are not satisfied with your salary, find something better. Keep working your way up or find positions that continue to leverage your skillset and expertise to continue to yield ever increasing salaries and promotions.
Go into business for yourself where you determine your own salary. Owning my own business has been a financial success for me and my family. My outcomes are directly related to the work that I put in. Entrepreneurial women will find business ownership to be a huge opportunity — both for personal and financial well-being.
Do not blame others. Do not point at men and say they are why you are not making more. Instead, find positions and opportunity that offer what you deserve. Make yourself so valuable that if you were to leave, the company would offer you more to stay. Be clear with your goals (both to yourself and your employers). Then, work for it!
Women also need to identify fantastic mentors. Surround yourself with people who are successes, and who you want to emulate. Men have more financially successful mentors than women, but women are getting there. Find people who you want to be like and associate with them. You are the company you keep. Even within your organization, find women who are successful and align.
In my 20+ years working in and around the research and advisory field, I’ve worked with and for an impressive list of companies and clients, In doing so, I’ve learned from some of the smartest leaders anyone could ever hope to know, and witnessed first-hand the growth of a dynamic and fascinating industry.
I’ve also had the good fortune to work beside some great leaders, and some fantastic mentors. It is from these individuals that my passion for strengthening the roles women can play in each other’s success grew. As women, not only are the demands on our professional lives extending but as our personal lives are continuing to flourish, I believe we need to move closer to a business culture that appropriately supports both. We need to help each other get to a place where the work/family debate is behind us.
In June of 2016, I was honored to be invited by the Obama White House to participate in the United State of Women, one of five thousand global advocates for women and girls.
In November of 2017, I was named one of Irish America Magazine’s 2017 Business 100 honorees.
Much of my free time is spent working with these phenomenal organizations:
– The Get In Touch Foundation, on whose board I have proudly served since 2010. We provide free breast health education to girls around the world.
– The Innovadores Foundation, where I serve as an advisor working with the next generation of Cuban innovators to solve their country’s most challenging problems.
Equal Pay Day notes the day from which women earn the same as their male counterparts, assuming the 79 cents to the dollar calculation.
Many people take the opportunity to debunk the math behind that number, but let me just say, I’ve never seen it above 79 cents. And that should be a problem for everyone, not just women.
– Two thirds of minimum wage jobs are held by women.
– Forty percent of households with at least one child under 18 are led by a woman who is either the primary or sole earner.
– Seventy percent of high school valedictorians are female. (Yet, acceptance rates into private colleges are lower for women than men.)
– Enrollment in US private colleges is 59% female.
And yet there are still some who contend the gap exists because women are less qualified or less committed to their careers.
I’m excited and impressed by the actions taken over the last few years by corporations like Salesforce. Not only did they make pay equity a priority, but they announced publicly their intent to do so. Now many others are following suit, not only for the PR bump but because it is the right thing to do.
When I launched The Rising Tides, I talked about the example of Abby Wambach of the US Women’s National Team. She and her teammates went on to demand equal pay for — what some, myself included — would classify as the same work with much better outcomes when they filed a suit against US Soccer with the EEOC.
You’re not doing your company any big favors by paying your women less.
Ask yourself why you allow this practice to continue at your organization.
Companies that wish to correcting any existing wage gap requires the following critical steps.
Willingness to Investigate the Depth of the Problem
Leadership must be fully on board with committing the resources necessary to understand the problem. Without executive support and backing, any attempt to address a wage gap problem will not be taken seriously, and will not be successful.
Receptivity to Addressing and Changing the Problem, Once Quantified
Not knowing the extent of the wage gap but committing to fixing it is one of the biggest reasons organizations avoid dealing with it in the first place. Putting structures in place to understand job roles, experience levels, and appropriate pay scales against which you can measure your workforce takes time and focus.
Transparency to Employees and Investors
Organizations need to let their constituents know that they are serious about fixing this, and the impact they want it to have on both groups.
Measurement and Maintenance
Knowing where you are is the first important step. Putting in place a plan to adjust salaries and make everyone whole, and sharing that with your employees, is next. But communicating how you intend to maintain that is essential. Strategy and investment changes, M&A activity, will all be factors as you move forward.
Each business leader should be prepared to speak with their teams about the how and why and the personal and professional impact this will have across the organization.
Tomas Gorny is a serial entrepreneur and CEO who truly embodies the principles of the American Dream. Tomas is the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Unitedweb, a holdings company, and Nextiva, a cloud communications company.
The gender pay gap is caused by institutionalized standards of appraisal that encourage and promote males with certain qualities that are not the same as those women are measured by. Men with qualities such as confidence, outspokenness and directness, do very well. However, when females display these qualities they are hushed, removed from positions of power and often criticized. This treatment encourages women to keep their opinions to themselves and not disrupt the status quo. However, when they do this they are still poorly rewarded. Unfortunately, this is a lose-lose for women, whether they stand up to it, or not, the fall out is to the detriment of the women in any situation. Sadly, even women leaders uphold these standards, whether consciously or subconsciously. While the majority of business leaders are still men, we can expect this to continue. Until there is greater representation of women on boards, in the c-suite, and in CEO positions, there will be no significant change. Other contributing factors include: sexual harassment, maternity leave and the impact of motherhood on women’s careers, childcare costs and the low value that is placed by society on work done primarily by women, such as teachers, nurses etc. All of these factors play into the perception that women’s abilities are worth less than men’s, in the same work arenas.
As with any disruption of the status quo, the change agents must come from within. Men will not lead this change, they can support it, but they cannot lead it. Women must lead, there will need to be disruption and this will be responded to with force from those who don’t want things to change. When power structures are disrupted, there are sometimes those that suffer as a result, casualties of the change. To correct this inequality will take time, and persistence. Women need to stay in the workforce, push through the ranks and hold the positions that will enable them to have a voice that is heard. Women have to push though; this won’t come without an effort. If more women are able to stay in the workforce for longer and can start to push against this unfair treatment, then the norms will shift and the next generation will be better off. Other things that will assist in change are: better childcare options, and maternity leave, more women speaking out about mistreated in the women. Ultimately men who are not aligned will need to be removed from positons of power to ensure the fair treatment of all people in the workplace.
Harry Glaser is a co-founder and CEO of Periscope Data, an end-to-end analytics platform enabling powerful data team collaboration, with more than 1000 customers globally. Prior to founding Periscope Data in 2012, Glaser was previously a product manager at Google. He graduated from the University of Rochester with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
He is an active member of Project Include, a non-profit that uses data and advocacy to accelerate diversity and inclusion solutions in the tech industry, whose mission is to give everyone a fair chance to succeed in tech. He is also part of Founders for Change, a group of venture-backed founders who are dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion within their companies, and desire greater diversity at the highest levels of VC firms.
Wide salary bands and negotiation practices for most roles can result in wide gender pay disparities. HR departments and hiring managers will — consciously or not — slot women into the lower end of the band and men into higher ends of the band. Men are also socialized to negotiate more aggressively and more frequently for salaries, and wide bands allow companies to give into these negotiations. Companies should decide in advance how much they pay for a role, and pay everyone in that role the same.
Teams that lack diversity at senior levels also have this problem. Even if the company is relatively diverse at lower levels, when there aren’t enough senior women, the overall numbers reflect a salary gap. The solution here isn’t finely sliced salary data: It’s a more diverse senior team!
We’ve also found that the problem sometimes starts with the recruiting process. Recruiters are motivated to get someone hired for the role as quickly as possible. So, you need to make it clear that you expect to see a diverse candidate pipeline. They probably won’t give you one initially, so it’s important to ask to see the whole pipeline,Š,,Šincluding people who were disqualified,Š,,Šand discuss why and if they should be reconsidered. This shows them how important addressing gender and diversity gaps are to you, and that you are willing to put in the work to source candidates directly.
Pay women and men equally for the same role. It’s not hard! This should be a continuous process: Make sure you’re constantly evaluating your departments for equal pay in the same roles, and for equal pay across genders and other dimensions. Fix those issues as soon as you identify them by truing up pay. This can help keep the issue from getting out of control, and keep the solution from being a prohibitively expensive massive pay correction.
Often these issues — equal pay as well as diversity on the team — start with the fundamental culture. Teams that have grown large without thinking hard about these issues often find themselves in a bad place. These companies feel overwhelmed by the size of their challenges around diversity, inclusion and equality. They need to recognize that it’s ok to start small. It’s ok to set one goal at a time. You’ll be surprised how quickly it turns into a flywheel. One way is to just get up in front of the company and say it out loud in front of everyone: We want to be welcoming to be inclusive and welcoming of everyone. People from all walks of life should walk into the office and feel like it welcomes them. This should explicitly be a goal and a value. And if you’re running a bigger company, get your leadership team on board. Everyone from the CEO on down should be singing the same song about the importance of an inclusive culture.
At Periscope Data, we’ve made a commitment to equal pay through the equal pay pledge: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/12/07/fact-sheet-white-house-announces-new-commitments-equal-pay-pledge. We pay exactly the same to each employee in the same role. We purposefully built out a pay structure that was blind , based on outcomes, not tenure or how well someone negotiates during the offer stage. This helps us attract a more diverse team, and also enables us to have conversations around work output rather than tenure.
Martine Liautaud is an investment banker, entrepreneur and investor, specializing in mergers & acquisitions and financial engineering. After 16 years as director, then partner, in Bank lndosuez, she left in 1990 to set up her first independent advisory and investment company.
Since 2000 she has successfully run Liautaud & Cie, which specializes in M&A, financial engineering, and advisory services for major French groups (CAC 40). As an investor, she has taken stakes in several companies either as a majority shareholder or important minority shareholder. These include Meccano, a leader in the toy sector (sold in 1995), and the publishing group, La Martiniere, where she was also Vice-Chairman.
Liautaud is an alumna of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and together with several other Stanford alumni, in 2010 she founded the WBMI (Women Business Mentoring Initiative), a volunteer mentoring program for women entrepreneurs with more than 3 years’ experience. She succeeded in gaining support for the program from a number of sponsors including Engie and BNP Paribas. At the end of 2015, she set up the Women Initiative Foundation (www.women-initiative-foundation.com) to promote women in the economy and in business in France, in Europe, in the U.S and in Canada. Women Initiative Foundation has three lines of activities: Research & Training, Mentoring Programs, Events.
Martine has published three books, drawing on her experience as an entrepreneur and a mentor: In 2014, she co-authored The Guide to Entrepreneurship for Woman. In 2015, Culture Mentoring, and in 2016, a book for the American market: Breaking Through: Stories and Best Practices from Companies to Help Women Succeed.
Martine Liautaud is a member of the entrepreneurship commission at the MEDEF, France’s largest employer federation. She is also a member of the board of directors at Centrale-SupÃ©lec — the merger between the two best engineering schools in France — and Savencia in France.
Martine has been decorated Knight of the Legion of Honor, she is married and has two children.
The pay gap is one of the most visible indicators of gender inequality. In all developed countries, the gap is around 20% for identical jobs and skill sets. The gap is closing, but at the current the pace, it’ll take several decades to reach pay parity.
Yet this unacceptable situation hasn’t brought about any proactive corrective actions to speak of from the players concerned, be they in the public or private sector, as most of the time they consider it to be normal.
The pay gap is intrinsically linked to a stereotypical view of the role of women, that is often shared by both sexes. The Women Initiative Foundation has just published the results of a wide-ranging multinational study (www.women-initiative-foundation) which reveals the persistence of unconscious or cultural obstacles to true gender equality within companies , not just pay parity. The question should start here, and the reasons for inequitable treatment of women need to be sought upstream: in society, in education, and in upbringing.
The dominant culture, inherited from patriarchal systems that prevailed not so long ago in most countries, led to devalued self-esteem for most women. This belittling is still present, despite the undeniable progress made thanks to feminist movements. But still today, women have a less positive self-image of themselves than men, who are used to coming first. As a result, there are a number of consequences that end up leading to the pay gap.
The most notable are:
Choices for further education and women’s preference for non-scientific subjects that lead to lower paid jobs and less women in the digital sector (10% of start-ups technologies are led by women)
Women’s preference for the support functions in companies (human resources, communication, etc.), which rarely lead to the top jobs
Careers slowed down by women’s reluctance to use male methods or values in their management style, and reticence to use affirmative negotiation techniques when negotiating their compensation
Generally more responsibilities related to bringing up and looking after children, which lead to more absenteeism, more part-time contracts, etc.
Fortunately, mindsets are changing fast. School books are getting rid of the most flagrant gender stereotypes, women’s voices are being heard and accepted more and more (Weinstein scandal), think tanks and foundations dedicated to promoting gender diversity (like WIF) are more active in public debate, blogs like ThriveGlobal promote the visibility and credibility of women, and targeted, proactive government policies are being introduced.
We need to support, orchestrate and amplify this movement. Numerous options can be explored, depending on national contexts and management cultures. We should encourage all initiatives and seek effective solutions with empirical rigor.
Among these initiatives, mentoring is tried and tested, as we have seen in our programs over the last 10 years both in France and internationally. Women business owners that we have supported have seen their businesses grow and their profitability improve after participating in our programs , which we are now offering to cross-border entrepreneurs.
We need more role models to help women get into new digital-sector professions. Women, like men, need to identify with successful leaders. Players promoting gender diversity need to discover and showcase women role models.
Networks are of critical importance. Men have always known how important it is to nurture their social capital and use it help each other out throughout their careers. We need to encourage women to build or join such networks. Each woman who succeeds should in turn help another woman. As Madeleine Albright said, there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.
It’s also essential to raise men’s awareness of the unfair lot that women face in the workplace. The studies we have conducted on stereotypes show that they are not always conscious of sexism in their environment or of their own behavior.
Finally, even if it’s always preferable to persuade rather than impose, some situations require bolder measures. Affirmative action falls into this category. In countries where quotas have been introduced regulating the number of women on boards of directors, more women are being appointed to governance bodies in companies. More women in key positions means more attention to women’s careers, more resources for their ambitions, and less hidden obstacles to their promotion. But there are more effective methods that strike at the roots of evil, such as the California Fair Pay Act which requires equal pay for all employees, men and women, who who perform substantially similar work.
Nevertheless, let’s bet that the intelligence and wisdom of all players (and notably male decision-makers) will lead to fairness being the rule and inequality the exception.
With a combination of talent, fierce determination, creativity and a taste for disrupting the status quo, Shields has created and is CEO of Genius Produced (www.geniusproduced.com), a multi-faceted production entity in L.A. that brings important stories, inspiration, entertainment and information to audiences of all ages. Her goal is to use media for social change, and she has followed through with a variety of engrossing projects. As a woman in the film and television world, her ascent has been unique.
Shields first achieved widespread success as the writer/producer/director of a viral feature film examining the toxic effects of bullying that won numerous festival awards and has been screened in schools and organizations around the country. Love is All You Need turns the tables on our view of sexual norms by presenting an alternate world where teenaged heterosexuals are in the position of persecuted minorities, bullied by their classmates and struggling with feelings of worthlessness. In 2013, the short leaked onto the internet, where it quickly went viral. To date it has received more than 50 million views online and has been translated into 15 languages
In 2014, Shields and co-writer David Tillman developed the short into a feature that Shields produced and directed, starring Emily Osment, Briana Evigan and Tyler Blackburn. The toxic text messages used in the film were taken from actual messages sent to young suicide victims who had been viciously bullied. Said Shields, I wanted to keep it as culturally relevant as possible. Digital communication can aid the desensitization of humanity. Love is All You Need was screened in 20 cities across the country and was released on iTunes.
Shields, who studied film theory at University of California Santa Barbara, served as a script supervisor for such directors as Gore Verbinski and J.J. Abrams, learning her craft as she worked. In 2017, Shields formed Genius Produced, through which she has produced numerous documentary and educational films for institutions. Currently, she is building out a production facility in Culver City, California, where she can continue to produce her educational films, which have become an innovative and popular enhancement to online teaching programs at more than a dozen colleges and universities. Additionally, she is developing several film and video projects that she will also produce and direct.
When two male CEO’s agree to meet for dinner and talk business, plans are made, a meal is shared, handshakes are exchanged, and new ventures are formed.
When a female CEO sets up a meeting with a male CEO to talk business: plans are made, a meal is shared,¦.and suddenly — there can be a very easy transition to the misinterpretation of this business meeting as a DATE.
As a female CEO in the entertainment industry, I have never compromised my integrity. The result? I have created a thriving counterculture to the stereotypical Hollywood you have been reading about lately. But what I have achieved is not commonplace, and I have watched other women fall victim to false definitions of partnership.
And even with these values, it has taken me years longer than any other male CEO to garner venture capital. Why? Because 95% of my meetings result in my potential business partner suddenly veering the conversation away from business and into personal territory.
When it comes to the gender wage gap, the root of the problem is quite simple: opportunity. There are more male CEOs than female CEOs. Why? Simply because of the consistent misinterpretation of a date vs. a business meeting.
The solution is simple conceptually: to balance the gender wage gap, we need more industry women in positions of power. Of course, this is not a simple implementation, and requires that we begin with ourselves in our own daily lives. It is essential that we take matters into our own hands.
Going to a business sit-down? Bring your assistant or a co-worker so there can be no misconstruing the nature of the meeting.
As an employer, be thoughtful about the balance of genders on your team. Which people in your company hold the most qualified positions? Why?
And women everywhere — remember that your most powerful partnerships could be with other women. Too often, females are pitted against each other by conventions of gender politics, but remember that you can be an asset to other working women, with your own wealth of knowledge to share. We are able to shape the future of the wage gap by empowering one another.
It is my goal as a female CEO in the entertainment industry- a position I built myself, for myself- to give females an opportunity to be recognized for their talents as partners in strategy, business, and policy, and not as a perceived addition to someone’s love life. When we recognize these qualities within ourselves, we provide the opportunity for the generation that comes after us to mark the work we’ve done, and to set new goals for the future. And when females consistently gain a major stake in positions of power, I believe we will finally begin to see a shift in the gender wage gap.
Sabeen Ali is the Founder and CEO of AngelHack, female-owned, female-majority company leading large-scale innovation initiatives for over six years; introducing hackathons, virtual competitions, accelerator programs, and various developer initiatives to over 100 cities around the globe.
Prior to AngelHack, Sabeen founded and sold her own leadership training and organizational development company; Team Building ROI, which provided leadership and organizational development training to companies such as Google, IBM, Blackberry, NetApp, Cisco, and others. She holds an M.S. in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco and is an expert in change management.
Sabeen also founded Code For A Cause, a nonprofit organization that aims to make technology and coding accessible for all, and to bring the tech community together to make the world a better place. Founded in 2013, CFAC has organized events and initiatives designed to connect developers, support women and girls, minorities, veterans and other disproportionately disadvantaged communities.
She speaks internationally to corporate, nonprofit and student audiences on rapid innovation, entrepreneurship, acceleration, women in tech initiatives, and more. She has received numerous accolades for her work, most recently including the Harari Conscious Leadership and Social Innovation award. Her work with AngelHack and CFAC has been highlighted in Inc., Fast Company, Voice of America, and featured in the hit documentary: Seed.
Women represent half of the global population, reinvesting 90% of their income into their families and communities — while earning only 10% of the world’s income. Studies have shown that advancing women’s equality can add trillions to economic growth. It’s proven that investing in women creates a better world, this is a huge problem that does affect everyone, which is one of the main reasons we dedicate so much time towards addressing problems that prevent female entrepreneurship, educating people on these statistics, and getting other influential tech groups involved. Even so, with all of this data, equal pay for women is still disproportionate to what men in the same positions make. I personally wonder if this is a culture that’s been created over the years; a culture where we talk about diversity within in the workplace and equality amongst pay, but little has actually been done to increase transparency within the company culture. From after-work drinks with the boys,, reserving thoughtful feedback for men, to lack of surveying employees — it all creates and help sustain a culture in which women are either not welcome, pushed out, or feel like an outsider. Eventually, many of these talented women and minorities end up switching industries and taking their skill sets elsewhere.
I think there are a multitude of things that can be done to help close this gap and for me it starts with transparency between top executives and hiring managers. One thing that companies can immediately start doing is to include more diverse interview teams in the hiring process to help with checks and balances in case of personal bias.
Secondly, using skill to skill matching when looking for a specific candidate and looking at the work first. Companies like GitHub have done studies in which code written by women was rated higher until their gender was revealed and unfortunately, this kind of bias in the hiring process happens a lot whether managers are doing it subconsciously or not. By looking at a candidate’s skill set and work first, we can collectively focus on the quality of one’s work to assess the potential impact they can offer and work towards changing the current culture that has been established to emphasize the importance of gender, age, etc. Recently states have passed laws to prohibit salary history questions which we believe is a key step to close the systemic institution of our gender pay gap. As women and minorities have continually earned less over the years, their future compensation is held hostage in this process that keeps them tied to their current trajectory of receiving less pay based on their previous earnings.
Most importantly, I think we need to realize that working towards closing the gender gap doesn’t stop after the hiring process. Retention has become crucial to part to creating equality within the workforce. Employee surveys, team bonding, and acknowledgment are all important elements to creating a more inclusive culture.
Tricia Clarke-Stone is CEO of New York based content innovation studio, WP Narrative_, that creates experiences for all screens, platforms and IRL. An expert in blending culture, technology and storytelling to connect brands and consumers in meaningful ways, Tricia has led award-winning campaigns for some of the world’s largest brands including Under Armour, Showtime, Samsung, Coty and Universal Pictures.
Tricia was formerly co-founder and CEO of creative, tech and innovation agency Narrative_, which was acquired by Hollywood hitmaker Will Packer to create WP Narrative_, the branded content arm of Will Packer Media. At Narrative_ she successfully created a new paradigm of invention, connectivity, and cultural relevance for global clients with standout work that has been honored at SXSW, Cannes Lions, the ONE Show, Clios, D&AD, and the Webby’s. Through her ingenuity, strategic thinking, creativity, and natural problem-solving ability, she has invented, launched, transformed and marketed businesses and brands, created diverse monetization and business development models and led innovation, including proprietary and patented product development.
Tricia has spent the last two decades at the intersection of marketing, branding, tech, media and entertainment. She first made her mark in advertising sales at Emmis Communications, where she launched new programs and built the company’s first digital division, helping agencies and brands such as PUMA, iTunes, Fox, and EA Sports create multilayered, cross-platform campaigns.
A graduate of Skidmore College, Tricia’s visionary tactics have landed her spots on both AdAge and Crain’s New York 40 Under 40 lists, as well as numerous speaking engagements discussing marketing’s role in tech, entertainment, fashion, and retail. She has been profiled in the New York Times, Fast Company, Elle, USA Today, Marie Claire, Forbes and Fortune.
I see several causes for the wage gap numbers, the most important being bias and discrimination in the workplace that stems from outdated traditions and stereotypes. If you further break down the numbers by race, you’ll see that the gender wage gap is even greater amongst black and Hispanic women (66/56 cents to every dollar earned by a white male).
Company culture largely impacts women’s roles and salaries; some companies , especially tech and finance , still maintain an old boys’ club mentality where men hold leadership roles and set the tone for how the company operates. There are businesses that just want to check-off HR / policy boxes, so they hire women solely to meet those needs. These women rarely get to hold leadership positions (hence the lack of attention to such situations and trying to drive change) and are rarely seen in the boardroom. The few women who do hold leadership positions continue to be outnumbered by their male counterparts.
Lastly, pregnancy and motherhood also impact these numbers. It can be extremely difficult for women who take maternity leave to be promoted due to a number of reasons, such as taking a significant time away from the office (someone else is brought on as a replacement) and having to come in late / leave early because they also play the role of primary caregivers in a working household.
In a professional / work situation, there’s a lot of herding around the issue of women in the workplace and the gender wage gap. We all need to be a bit more audacious and vocal in bringing these issues to light, and making those in charge of such decisions feel uncomfortable about how their company operates. We need to ensure companies have a built-in culture of wanting to hire and promote women in senior and executive roles.
Another way to correct this situation is to make salaries public , a practice which has already been adopted by several companies. This way, pay discrepancies can be publicly viewed, and without shaming, we can hold people accountable in different ways. There should be a public report highlighting companies that push for equal pay versus those that don’t strive for change, so that job seekers have a better understanding of what the company stands for and those who are forging the path for equality (these reports could be published on AdAge, Inc, Forbes and so forth).
Furthermore, companies should consider changing up the way they conduct performance reviews (bringing in a third-party to help assess) so all employees are getting recognized and raises, without bias.
After building two businesses and experiencing firsthand the costs of uncertainty and bias in conventional hiring practices, Caitlin MacGregor became the CEO and co-founder of Plum (http://plum.io) out of her own necessity. Plum combines advanced Industrial/Organizational Psychology with Artificial Intelligence to provide organizations with the ability to predict with certainty the quality of their hires, develop their employees, and transform their culture. Before becoming CEO and co-founder of Plum, she was Employee #1/Director of Operations for Me to We Style in Toronto and President of goQ software in New Hampshire. Caitlin was selected by Springboard Enterprises in NYC as one of the top 10 businesses led by women.
The pernicious wage gap between men and women is attributable to a flaw in the criteria used to define success, and subsequently, salaries & raises. When managers mentally define success, they do so relative to past examples; these might be well-known examples, such as Jeff Bezos’ success with Amazon, or they may be personal to the manager. In most cases, however, that means the criteria against which work success will be evaluated is male (and white, too, but that’s another article).
In other words, the gender wage gap is a reflection of faulty pattern recognition. For instance, studies have shown that investors preferred entrepreneurial ventures pitched by a man than an identical pitch from a woman by a large margin. In 177 performance reviews of high-performers in tech, negative personality criticism (such as abrasive, strident, or irrational) showed up in 75% of reviews for women and just 2% of reviews for men. What’s more likely, that three out of four of the women had personality problems, or the reviewers’ evaluation process was distorted?
As a female startup founder, I have experienced the power of gender in business environments firsthand. One situation that comes to mind was when I was fortunate enough to connect with Springboard Enterprises, a network of investors and influencers dedicated to supporting technology companies led by women. Just being able to see what a successful female founder looked like — and I mean literally, i.e. the clothes they wore, how they carried themselves — was invaluable. If those details seem irrelevant to you, try picturing the trademark look of a female founder, similar to Steve Jobs’ iconic turtleneck, or Zuckerberg’s hoodie. Hint: there is none, not yet.
It’s still unfortunately true that in business, men are judged based on potential or gut instinct, while women are judged on absolutely everything else.
To fix the wage gap between men and women, we must proactively address gender equality in the workplace. However, rather than viewing this as a problem to fix, businesses should see gender equality as an opportunity to catalyze innovation. It’s no coincidence that the most innovative businesses always foster diversity and equality, as these are in turn pistons of innovation. To correct male-female pay imbalances specifically, businesses must embrace two solutions: 1) metrics, and 2) targeted campaigns.
Regarding the former, every company must leverage its internal data for a dispassionate understanding of the organization’s salary and incentive structures, and how they are being applied by gender. Data is not swayed by things like whether an employee reminds the manager of themselves when they were younger, as one example. Targeted campaigns, meanwhile, are necessary to bring female wages in line with their male colleagues when accomplishments by women aren’t being perceived in an equitable manner due to bias.
But at the risk of repeating myself, by unshackling businesses from unequal pay and performance patterns, innovation actually increases. I would note that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform financially and that research has shown education and past experience don’t correlate in any way to future work success. The perceived risks of employing targeted campaigns and metrics to adjust gender imbalances in the workplace are in fact not backed by the data — something the most innovative companies already know.
Autumn Manning is co-founder and CEO of YouEarnedIt, a leading HR SaaS company that improves bottom-line performance metrics by enhancing the employee experience. With a background in human capital management and expertise in enhancing corporate culture, she carries out the company’s vision to improve the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Profiled in The New York Times and HuffPost, Autumn’s thoughts on culture and leadership have been featured in Inc., Business Insider, and Entrepreneur. Under her leadership, YouEarnedIt created the world’s most robust employee experience platform and was named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017.
The discrepancy in pay comes from a few different issues that we as leaders can combat. If a business has practices that facilitate the wage gap, and many do inadvertently, then the company should work to change them and be open in communicating these changes. For example, many employers have made the decision to stop asking about salary history during the hiring process. This is a huge step forward and one I’d like to see more companies implement. Just because a woman may have anchored herself low before doesn’t mean the company should allow it to happen again.
When looking at men vs. women during the hiring process, on average 57% of men negotiate their salary while only 7% of women negotiate theirs. For women, my advice would be to just ask. Have the difficult conversation. Remember that it’s not actually an emotional conversation, or rather, it doesn’t need to be. It’s a factual conversation based on paying fair market value for work and worth. When you ask, what am I worth?, it’s immediately emotional and judgement can be clouded. But, what is the role and the job worth? What are market comps showing you? Know the comparables and what work is involved before making an assessment of worth. And again, it’s not what you are worth, because that’s boundless! It’s the worth of the work and the job compared to the market with respect to performance. Try hard to remove the emotion, know it’s not a personal worth assessment, and assess worth for the role and the market based on success criteria and negotiate from a place of strength.
Teresa Freeborn is President and Chief Executive for Xceed Financial Credit Union, a federally-chartered credit union with nearly $1 billion in assets and 70,000 members. She oversees all aspects of the Credit Union’s operations and represents Xceed globally. Rising through the ranks during her four decade career, her experience encompasses the full breadth of the international credit union system.
A passionate advocate in the credit union movement, and leader of some of its more important and effective initiatives, Freeborn was named one of the industry’s women to watch by Credit Union Times. She was inducted into the Credit Union Executives Society Hall of Fame in 2014 for her many contributions to the credit union movement, and the California Credit Union League has honored her with both its Distinguished Service Award, and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award for her current and ongoing commitment to the credit union community. A frequent speaker at high-profile industry events, she is a regular source for news media seeking comment on issues relating to credit unions and finance, as well as the advance of women in leadership.
Although a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Freeborn now calls Hermosa Beach, California home. She holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University.
From what I’ve observed, probably the biggest factor that keeps women earning less than men is the motherhood penalty. While becoming a father has either no impact or a positive impact on a man’s earnings, motherhood derails many women’s careers. Women are far more likely than men to drop out of the workplace to care for children , that lost time on the job sets women back in terms of earnings, but more importantly it can keep them from accumulating the skills and experience needed to get promoted to leadership roles that pay more. And when they do come back to the workforce, family-unfriendly workplaces force women to choose between their children and their careers , that leads many to dial down their professional ambitions, and that has permanent consequences for their earning potential.
Another big factor, I think, is what some people call ,˜second generational gender bias’ which is often unintentional and far more subtle than explicit, ,˜first generation’ discrimination, which is now illegal. It’s rooted in gender stereotypes and conventional expectations of men and women. We tend to expect men to be confident, opinionated, and assertive , a.k.a. leaders — and we expect women to be nurturing, compassionate, and passive , a.k.a. followers. So we can inadvertently channel and groom men for leadership roles — leaving promising female candidates in supporting roles, where they’ll never earn big salaries. This is truly ironic, because most of us value toughness in leaders, but often fail to see that women’s brand of toughness can be far more steely than men’s!
The third big driver for the pay gap I see is the confidence gap: women tend to undervalue their own skills, experience and achievements and that prevents them from both entering the arena, and negotiating salaries on par with male peers. Women often avoid even trying to move up to the next level and competing for promotions, because they feel they aren’t qualified. Typically, women think they need 100% of the necessary job skills to apply for a job, whereas a typical man would be comfortable stepping up with maybe 50% of the required skills.
If we really want to close the gender pay gap overall, we’ve got to get more women into C-suite roles that pay more money. And, to assure pay equity at each level below that, we’ve got to implement workplace policies that pull women from the sidelines and onto leadership tracks within our organizations.
At Xceed Financial, our Human Resources team is charged with ensuring that every candidate pool includes qualified women. However, there’s more to it than just hiring people and hoping they’ll succeed. Though we’re in an uncertain time right now vis a vis male-female relationships in the workplace, I know from personal experience that mentoring promising young women is hugely important to overcoming the confidence gap that keeps many from pursuing leadership roles.
But the thing that will make the most impact is implementing workplace policies that are family-friendly and beneficial to both women and men. For the overwhelming majority of people, having a family means having children. Yet we inadvertently stigmatize parental leave when we expect only women to take maternity leave. When both parents are encouraged to care for children , and not just at birth, but throughout childhood — it will go a long way toward removing the motherhood penalty.
Parents also need flexibility to balance career and family. So, unless a job truly requires a person’s physical presence on specific days between predetermined hours, we need to reject the notion that time spent sitting at an office desk has intrinsic value. It simply makes no sense, since technology enables us to be productive 24/7. Furthermore, today’s young people simply don’t have the same boundaries as previous generations, between home and office, office technology and personal technology, and, most importantly, between work time and personal time. The best of them are multi-tasking virtuosos, who will give us their all and work, literally, around the clock and on their time off to get a job done if we let them. And we let them when we structure our workplaces, performance evaluations, technology policies, and the language we use to talk about these things to focus on quality, objective results, and value-added. Do that , for real , and we’ll have more family-friendly environments that will enable talented women and men to delivery their professional best, and advance in their careers because the work-life we offer is compatible with the life-life they want.
Jason Saltzman is the CEO and Founder of Alley, a post business incubator and shared workspace for entrepreneurs. He also co-founded the tech company, SeamlessDocs. Jason advises and invests in a variety of early-stage companies and is a mentor for the Techstars accelerator program. Jason has worked with the US State Department, traveling the world to assist the growth of startup communities. On his latest trip the Middle East, he produced and starred in a documentary about the Kuwaiti startup ecosystem. Jason has published content for CNN, The Wall Street Journal and is a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine.
There has to be a cultural shift, and it has to begin now. When I look at these numbers it’s evident we live in a world where there are people who still believe that some humans are better than other humans, and pay them that way. Even though every single study out there shows there is no truth to this idea, it persists.
The current administration, they don’t seem to have a problem with the data. I mean last October, Trump suspended an initiative aimed at bridging the wage gap. Under the initiative, employers had to report about employees’ pay, gender, race, and ethnicity. It was a way to hold large companies accountable, and pulling that program; it just underlined that business, as usual, was okay and not going to be challenged.
I know, though, that these numbers only tell half the story. There is no way I am going to say the widening gap is good but what we are seeing is an increasing number of people who are no longer happy to accept what these numbers show. Yea, these numbers show a widening gap on the surface, but the people who are pissed off about that gap are getting more powerful. We know the playing field is screwed up and now we are asking, well how do we fix it?
I am not going to be shy about saying this, but the one good thing about having the Trump administration in power? Is that people are not just pissed, but they are pissed and organizing. The Trump Effect, a study published by American University Professor Jennifer Lawless found that after the 2016 presidential election, involvement in political activism tripled among women. I think it’s awesome that the conversations are happening, that we are looking at each other and saying, okay what are we going to do about making these numbers better. I like that we are challenging CEOs and Executives, to say how are you going to explain these numbers and how are you going to fix it.
I am optimistic because people are pissed off. First, you get angry, and then you create change.
Okay, I think the place to start is to recognize that the wage gap is a systematic issue. The idea that it makes sense to pay a woman less is so deeply embedded in the world around us, that we don’t even realize something is off until a study like that comes out. I know how hard women work, I was lucky to be raised by a strong-willed woman, who taught me to respect everyone as I would want to be respected. It’s those values that shape how Alley is run — on hard work, decency, and merit. Over 80% of my team women — why? Just to check some boxes, no because they are better at their job.
So how do we change this? If you really believe the wage gap is a problem, then you need to do everything in your power to challenge it. You need to be a public advocate. You need to take that first step, whatever it is for you.
Politically, we all need to be proactive and vote the right people in. We need people in power, who set good examples for the rest of us to follow, not undo years of gender progress. If you are in public office, then you need to vote on these issues.
Listen, we don’t always think of them this way, but CEOs are more public figures than anything else. If they are not representing their brand properly, then you, as the consumer need to show them what you think. You vote for your CEO by your buying choices, hit them in the pocketbook, say that you know how they are not treating their staff equally and show them it matters to you.
No brand holds a monopoly on a market; there are so many options out there for your dollar. If we know a man is getting paid more for the same job as a woman, we all need to stand up together and say we are no longer buying this crap. We need to show the world that this type of practice is inappropriate.
Finally for those CEOs out there, if you are in a power position, then you need to use it. This is not to say all CEOs should be women but recognize we all have a responsibility to support women.
Co-Founder and CEO of DEV/CON DETECT. I Spent many years in the online publishing industry developing digital products for E.W. Scripps, Los Angeles Times and American Public Media. I started at the bottom and worked my way up to VP positions, which was great because I got to learn everything in between.
Being a woman in tech back then was pretty rare, especially at old school media companies, but I was fortunate to have a couple of very strong bosses, who were women as well. They gave me great mentoring on being an effective leader, without worrying about the B word. There will always be those who view a strong woman lead as a B****. I don’t care. I’m not in it to win favor or popularity, I’m in it to do the job and serve the company.
Having spent the last 10 years of my career working with adtech, I’ve seen first-hand how vulnerable the industry is to fraud. For year people have talked about bots and clickjacking, but it’s much deeper than that.
I started the company after catching a hacker who had stolen an estimated $921K though ad fraud. The industry continues to think of traffic verification as a solution. Measuring the loss is not a solution. The industry will lose $19B this year to ad fraud. It’s time to stop talking about bots and start catching criminals. Just last month we won the first ever conviction for money laundering and fraud by means of online advertising. I’m passionate about Journalism and what it stands for. I very fortunate to be able to work in the interest of protecting free press.
The gender gap is a mystery to me. It unfathomable that in today’s world we would still be having the conversation, as if there is any merit to paying women less. I think the argument still goes something like men have families to support and women have men to support them. So where does that leave the single gay moms like me? It was hard AF to raise kids alone, and know that my only real chance at getting a decent salary was to work harder and longer than everyone else. Often that meant getting to the office a 6am and not leaving until 9pm. Doesn’t leave a lot of QT.
Ultimately, there seems to be a general lack of value put on the work and accomplishments of women. Fact , there is not one national holiday named for a woman. When I say that, invariably someone will say what about Mother’s Day?
First off, Mother’s Day is not a national holiday, and secondly, think about all the holidays celebrating the achievements of men. Are you telling me we can’t find one woman worthy of nation recognition? Worth noting DEV/CON celebrates International Women’s Day as a paid holiday. We also offer spouse share options, as part of the employee package.
How can we effect change? Be successful, hire women, pay them equally. Look for opportunities to hire and promote women for executive positions. When Golden Seeds and The JumpFund offered to be in my seed rounds, I was thrilled. These are groups who are dedicated to investing in women led companies, and we need to support them just as much as they support us, so the next crop of women with great ideas will have the funding to see it though. The more wealth we create for ourselves and each other, the more we can say Screw your conversation about equal pay. I am paying women equal.
Emma is one of only a handful of females holding a senior executive role in the advertising technology industry. She holds the most senior position within PubMatic in the UK.
She joined PubMatic in 2014 as senior director of international marketing, rising to the role of vice president of international marketing within a year of joining the company. Seeking a new challenge, she took on the role of Country Manager UK, running the UK team’s business development, account management and demand generation teams, instilling greater sales processes and excellence across the UK business. Recently Emma has been promoted to Vice President, UK, taking on a wider EMEA role, helping develop sales excellence across the region.
Before joining PubMatic, Emma was marketing director at leading Out of Home media owner Clear Channel, working as part of the management board with responsibility for creating and managing the execution of a holistic marketing strategy for the business. Prior to Clear Channel she worked at AOL as senior director of marketing for the UK, responsible for all business to business and consumer focused marketing. Emma also spent 10 years at Microsoft across a range of marketing and business roles.
A passionate believer in diversity and the value females bring to business, Emma is a keen advocate of attracting more women into the ad tech industry and providing the environment to ensure they flourish.
The biggest driving factor behind the wage gap is that there are more females in lower paid roles while the majority of the most senior, best paid jobs are held by men.
In this day and age, it’s frustrating that we are still talking about a gender pay gap. It’s perhaps the talk that is the problem , what is required is action, as this drives real change. The Time’s Up movement in Hollywood is something we can all, male or female, learn from and find ways in our own industries and societies to stand up and make a difference.
Technology platforms and services such as Slack, GoToMeeting, Skype provide organisations with the potential to transform how employees interact with colleagues and clients, removing the need for all parties to be in the same physical location to communicate clearly. Despite this, businesses have failed to change. The outdated focus on ,˜presenteeism’ still rules the thinking of many companies. A failure to acknowledge the need for, and provide, flexibility at work perpetuates the gender pay gap. A lack of flexibility penalises employees financially when they take the role of the primary carer, be that for a new child or a sick parent etc. Today, this is typically an issue that affects women, however, men are also being denied the opportunity.
What must be taken into account in any discussion around wage gaps is what people view as important to them. Younger workers, women and, increasingly, men rank work-life balance and flexibility as of greater importance than salary or status and are prepared to trade off pay to achieve this. Although, why anyone should have to trade salary for a fulfilling and sustainable work situation is perhaps a question for another day.
In the UK it has recently been reported that men are paid 9.8% more than women, on average. The media has been keen to highlight the shortcomings of the recently published gender pay gap statistics and I’m hopeful that this publicity will be start a drive for action and change.
A crucial step to begin to correct the gender gap is for companies to build flexible working patterns into how they operate. This must include senior roles as well as middle and junior positions. And it’s not simply women who will benefit. These options need to be available for all employees, male or female. When we reach the point where men have greater access to job flexibility, things will change and discrepancies around pay will reduce.
Women do need to play their part and take control of the situation. We need to be more proactive when demanding equal pay or negotiating our salaries and this is something we can learn from men who have historically been more assertive.
There’s also a need to challenge recruitment processes. Traditionally the hiring processes have focused on past experiences or higher education. Today we need a competence-led approach to recruitment with a focus on strengths-based skills and experience and the interview process needs to focus on ability to ensure the right candidate is selected for the role and any unconscious bias is minimised.
Nigel Verdon is a well-known UK fintech entrepreneur and founded three fintech firms: Evolution, Currency Cloud and more recently, Railsbank. He sits on the board of FX Options Hedge fund LCJ. Previously, he was a partner at fintech VC fund Orange Growth Capital, worked at Swiss Bank Corp (now UBS) and was a director at Dresdner Kleinwort Investment Bank — both banks recognised for their innovation in technology.
First of all there simply needs to be more women in fintech. Only 30% of the fintech workforce is female. In fact only 17% of senior fintech roles are held by women.*
This discrepancy can only be addressed by government, employers, schools and universities encouraging more girls and young women to study STEM related subjects.
The recent story of Matt Smith being paid more than Claire Foy in the Netflix show, The Crown, even though he had a supporting role, helps start the conversation around gender equality. With the emergence of the Time’s Up movement and high profile cases of Hollywood stars challenging discrepancies in pay, it is only natural that other industries should quickly follow suit. This public debate has been incredibly helpful and I welcome a new UK law that requires all British companies with 250 or more employees to report their gender pay gap, starting this month. This transparency can only help to redress the balance.
For the Railsbank Chief Technology Officer, Adam McGregor, the current situation is frustrating. He speaks bluntly: Equality at the moment sucks in the IT world. Part of it is down to how we over-work people and part of it is the sector has no expectation of a work/life balance. Even nowadays women are still expected to deal with childcare and running the home.
But for Adam it goes further. He believes it’s not just women, it’s also about people of colour; members of the LGBTQ+ community (who often work ‘disguised’ and are afraid, in the IT world, to be themselves); and, disabled people. And it goes right back to how we teach the subject. As a teacher, the sixth form class he taught had no girls.
It’s a conundrum. When it comes to services that we are building for everyone, why aren’t we using everyone to build them? We need diverse teams that incorporate all members of society; that way we build services that can be used across all consumers.
The first programmers were women and praise must be given to organisations such as DevelopHer, a non-profit community dedicated to bringing women in technology together to create both opportunities and networks.
Here at Railsbank when we recruit women, we don’t generally ask what their salaries were in previous roles to ensure that they start at Railsbank on a fair and equal footing. This is a very simple way to close the gender wage gap.
We are breaking the fintech trend as 50% of our senior workforce is female. The fact that we have a high proportion of women on the team, in senior positions, is down to a number of factors, they are the best at their jobs, they fit our culture and we have some excellent family friendly flexible working policies. We also have to recognise that our team have a life outside work. Family time is precious and we are a very flexible employer with 28 paid holiday days per year plus public holidays, we don’t mind when people turn up or leave from work, as long as they get the job done. We also don’t mind where people work, a high proportion of the team work from home one or two days per week.
Joanna Jenkins is employed as Railsbank’s Head of Compliance and is an expert on tackling financial crime. She welcomes what she has seen: It’s refreshing to be part of a team that is really diverse, it’s a more realistic reflection of society.
Joanna believes it’s a cultural shift: The fact is, it’s not easy to hire people. Not easy to get a good team around you. And one of the reasons we do that here is because the co-founders Nigel Verdon and Clive Mitchell lead from the front, creating the environment in which a diverse team can flourish.
I am very lucky in that I have some of the best talent who happen to be female at Railsbank! Some fantastic trail blazers in senior roles. Louisa Murray was one of the first ever female traders at Barclays. Claire Green has 35 caps for the England Women’s rugby and is an investor in Railsbank and of course Joanna Jenkins who leads on compliance.
It’s also crucial that all our employees are also stakeholders. So it’s their business as well. We are in this together and we have a strong esprit de corps.
I am pleased to say we have extraordinary women on the team, and much of our current success, and hopefully our continued success, is down to them.
Katia cofounded Birchbox in 2010, driven by a fascination with the business dynamics of the beauty industry and a mission to redefine the way people discovered and shopped for beauty online. Today she is more passionate than ever about building the beauty destination for the average woman who is not passionate about beauty. Birchbox, which is best known for its monthly subscription of personalized samples, has more than 1 million subscribers, 4 million total customers, 800 beauty and grooming brand partners, operations in six countries, and stores in New York City and Paris.
Katia holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in International Studies & Economics from Vassar College. Prior to graduating business school, she worked in structured finance and commercial real estate. She has been honored with accolades including Advertising Age Women to Watch, CEW Achiever’s Award, Fortune 40 Under 40, Inc. 30 Under 30, WWD Digital Innovator of the Year, and YMA Fashion’s Entrepreneur of the Year, among others. In 2016, Katia was featured as an investor on Lifetime TV’s Project Runway: Fashion Startup series.
A native Texan, Katia lives in New York City with her husband and three sons.
Women are forced to work more for equal. For a long time women have had to — and still do — work more in a year to earn the same wage as their male counterparts. Companies are beginning to take steps in order to correct this, but there is still a long way to go. This is beyond just offering women more pay; it is mentoring them, advocating for them, giving them a space to feel empowered to take the next step in their careers. The lack of this showcases what is holding women back.
It’s more than just an individual problem. This problem is both infrastructural and individual. It will require effort from both companies as a whole and individual employees. There is a role that everyone needs to play, and that’s equipping women with the knowledge and confidence that their role is important at all levels, and that opportunities to grow do exist. We need this mindset in order to empower women to overcome the obstacles they are more likely to face.
Provide your teams with the necessary tools. It’s a priority to provide your team with the tools they need to advocate for themselves,whether it’s coaching them to approach their manager for a raise or providing them with flexibility, plus uninterrupted potential, in their career ambitions when they return from maternity leave.
At Birchbox, we feel a responsibility to be a part of the force that propels real, tangible changes as women demand greater agency both professionally and politically.
Make space for women with families and careers. Companies should make space for women to have families and careers. Everyone knows that, but there is a disconnect between intellectually understanding that, and how we behave toward a woman who does want it all.
Mentorship. It’s about more than just giving advice. Personally, I’m all for sharing information with peers and supporting each other behind the scenes. I spend time meeting with potential new entrepreneurs, including alumni of Birchbox, trying to support them going to business school or starting their own companies. I’m always happy to introduce them to my contacts and help in any way I can.
Look forward. We must remember the year of 2018 as a turning point. Whether it’s closing the pay gap, increasing funding for female entrepreneurs, or finally addressing the needs that mothers have in the workplace. As a woman, entrepreneur, CEO, mother, and wife, I feel endless motivation to implement changes at Birchbox that reflect our devotion to women’s empowerment.
Understand Your Self-Worth. It’s critical for women to understand their value and their own self-worth , that they are talented, deserving, and can contribute even in the early days of their career. It’s an honor to any employer that you choose to bring your own talent to them. All women deserve to have high expectations of the company they work for (it’s supposed to be a relationship!), so be demanding and work harder so you know when you have the right to be demanding. I want to empower women to feel comfortable asking their employer for whatever it is that they need, whether that’s more resources, a higher salary, development opportunities, flexibility in their schedule or mentorship. Ask smart questions, stay humble, and learn from every opportunity. And always celebrate other women finding success.
Birchbox’s Katia Beauchamp on How to Scale Your Business and Find Success
Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and C.E.O. of Birchbox, in conversation with Vanity Fair contributing editor Bethany McLean…video.vanityfair.com
Cynthia Johnson is an entrepreneur, marketing professional, author and keynote speaker. She is Co-Founder at Bell + Ivy, a personal brand development, and management agency in Los Angeles. Previously, she was Partner & Director of Marketing for RankLab, a digital marketing agency listed in Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Private Companies in 2015. In July of 2015 RankLab was acquired by American Addiction Centers where she worked as their Director of Brand Development. Cynthia is on the Forbes Agency Council, a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council. Cynthia was listed as top 20 Digital Marketing people to follow by Inc. Magazine, top 50 marketers on SnapChat by Mashable, top 12 Female Entrepreneurs that Inspire by Darling Magazine, and top 20 people in SEO by Guardian. She has been interviewed in Forbes, Huffington Post, and Chicago Planner Magazine. She is also a social media influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
There are many moving parts that play into the gender pay gap, with certain items weighing more heavily than others. One major cause is the continued hiring of males for roles that could easily be filled by females of the same caliber. On top of this, many individuals that are doing the hiring are males. When they are not hiring other males for the position based on comfort-level (working with what they know), accreditation, or experience, they hire females simply because they are told that they need to hire women. Many times this causes a pay gap because the woman that happens to be chosen for the role has less experience or less credentials than the man that previously filled the position. Hiring managers are not being properly trained, or properly instructed, to find the best candidate for the job while maintaining equality in representation, thus causing a pay decrease for the woman who is hired because of her gender and not because of her abilities. This is not always the case, and many highly qualified women are chosen for proper positions, but this does often play into the gap.
There are very high numbers of females in various fields that have the knowledge, skill, talent, and credentials required to do an excellent job. However, many times in the search to hire a woman to meet quota, an unqualified or not-as-highly-qualified female is hired for a position. Their pay is not going to match the pay of a female or male that is better suited for that specific role because they will be paying based on expertise. Businesses and hiring managers need to be looking not to just meet quota but to find the best possible person for the role while maintaining equality in representation and paying them based on their abilities. If this is done properly then you will find that there will be more woman in various level roles in various fields, but also that their pay will not play into the gender gap.
Tasia Duske is the CEO of renegade museum tour company, Museum Hack. Tasia’s expertise is in scaling scrappy startups to become stable, profitable companies. At Museum Hack, a 100% bootstrapped and fully remote organization, this work includes overseeing revenue growth from $1.2 million in 2015 to $2.7 million in 2017, and a team that has expanded from 30 people to 65. Duske is a fierce advocate for bringing joy, passion, integrity and creativity to your work.
Duske joined Museum Hack in March of 2016 as Staff Manager and was promoted to Chief of Staff in October of the same year. In that role, Tasia worked very closely with Nick Gray, Museum Hack’s founder, and other department managers to support strategic initiatives and staffing leadership company-wide. Duske’s education includes a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Washington University. Though her career began in the world of marriage and family therapy, Duske quickly realized that she could apply her education in the corporate world through staff management positions; making sure the work families into which she was hired received the same TLC typically provided in traditional family therapy.
As part of the Museum Hack work family, Duske has worked on museum consulting projects with organizations from Kansas to Scotland, and has trained guides as Museum Hack expanded into their two most recent cities. Museum Hack provides interactive museum experiences that attract diverse audiences and foster new connections. They also work with museums around the world to increase visitor engagement. Founded in 2013 by Nick Gray; Museum Hack currently offers alternative museum tours in New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C, Chicago and Los Angeles.
While I don’t necessarily have the expertise to comment on the political, social and economic factors throughout society that may contribute to an increase through 2017 in the gender wage gap, I can speak from personal experience.
Early in my career when I was offered my first salary position, I asked for advice from senior male colleagues already in the company if I should negotiate, only to be advised against it because I shouldn’t be too pushy; be grateful for the position and the experience.
I’d _love_ to know how many times a man had been cautioned against being seen as too pushy and to be instead grateful for experience. While career experience is definitely a valuable part of a position, it cannot substitute competitive pay. That advice seemed to be specifically related to my gender.
I was quite frustrated later to find the company only provided raises at a percentage of your entry base, so by following their advice not to negotiate, it cost me thousands in my future compensation. I’m certain other women have fallen into the traps of gendered advice.
Another trend that I’ve noticed when considering promotions and taking on additional responsibility, men tend to respond more regularly with, I’ve never done that, but I can learn those skills! Whereas, I’ve heard more women respond with, I’ve never done that; there is someone more qualified than me.
Through my position, I hope to inspire women to have more confidence in their ability to learn new things and fight for their value! They should be the #1 person invested in their own growth and development. At Museum Hack, we work with all employees to give them the skills to negotiate pay raises and promotions, because I believe that employers need to create an environment which encourages their employees, women especially, to negotiate or ask for raise in order to see the wage gap closed.
For anyone, not just women, the first and easiest thing you can do to get a raise is simply ask for it. When you begin negotiating, be prepared to show your value add. (I.e. I’ve completed this amount in sales each month, generated X amount of leads, or improved our customer ratings by this percentage).
If your raise is denied, ask questions about how the budget is set for that salary and what would be needed to increase the amount you earn. More skills? Experience? Complete larger value projects? Change to another role? After that is established, work with your manager to create an action plan to reach those goals, and set a timeline. Then revisit and review your development plan and re-ask. It will be much easier to for your manager to agree to the raise after you’ve developed the plan together and already gotten them to buy in.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to seek out a lateral promotion! Moving to another department can be very important, as it will give you broader range of experience and overall knowledge of the company. This knowledge of the company and diversity of experience can be invaluable in negotiating promotions to larger management roles where you need understanding of the big picture.
Another way to increase your paycheck is to work in performance bonuses — your raise doesn’t all have to come from your base salary.
My last piece of advice: realize that salary negotiation begins in the application phase. If you do not know the salary range for the position in which you’re applying and asked to list your prefered range, list negotiable until you can gather more information. During the interview, open the conversation with, I have a salary range I would like. I also recognize you most likely have a budget for a salary range already decided. What is the range you’ve budgeted? What are the factors that would impact where someone lands on that range? This will help you avoid being excluded from the hiring conversation by initially asking for too much or selling yourself short with an ask at the bottom range of their budget.
As founder and CEO of reacHIRE, Addie is changing the trajectory for women in the workforce by providing a path for career advancement and placement with organizations committed to women’s success. reacHIRE works with organizations committed to a gender diverse workforce by connecting them to women who are returning to work after a break or women looking for new roles and advancement. She started her career at Bain & Co. and from there built new businesses within Disney, Reebok and Lotus Development. Prior to starting reacHIRE, Addie founded two companies designed to empower women and girls in the education tech space. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Crain’s Business, Inc., Boston Globe, NPR, Bloomberg, MSNBC, among many others. Addie holds a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She’s the proud mother of two young professional women.
Compensation is complicated. It involves not only what you’re earning, but how you feel you’re being valued by the organization. It’s a concrete data point that psychologically signals how valued you are. Women don’t always negotiate their salaries from a position of strength. We need to be more proactive when negotiating a salary or a raise. To do this, we need to do our homework in advance when researching a position. With the availability of transparent resources, such as Glassdoor, anyone can access information about salaries and compensation for specific positions within an organization. Companies and employee candidates need to expect more and do better.
There’s absolutely no reason why women should be paid 20% less than men. Talent is ubiquitous and potential is not pre-determined by gender, race, or ethnicity. Pay should be based on the job, not the physical attributes of the person completing them. Companies need to be more open about looking at the jobs accomplished and the appropriate pay related to their open positions. Smart companies, like Salesforce for example, are looking at their pay scales routinely (not just one and done) and leveling up to make the playing field more equal.
Another way to improve pay equity and close the pay gap is for companies to have more women in the C-suite. The only way businesses can have more female leaders is if they have more women in the pipeline. Accenture’s Getting to Equal: 2018 analysis found that having a least one woman in a leadership position can triple the number of female managers at that company. (https://www.accenture.com/us-en/gender-equality-research; https://www.accenture.com/t20180307T184141Z__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/PDF-73/Accenture-When-She-Rises-We-All-Rise.pdf#zoom=50) Job seekers, both male and female, need to ask companies about their positions on pay equity and hold organizations accountable. The forward-thinking companies who make a commitment to equal pay and to closing the pay gap by instituting new policies and programs that support women in leadership roles will be well positioned for success in the future. Our company reacHIRE is committed to to changing the trajectory for women in the workplace by partnering with forward-thinking companies to understand and create environments where women can advance, thrive, lead, and stay.
Kean is the Founder & CEO of MonetizeMore. He started MonetizeMore in 2010 with the goal to build a bootstrap business that would dramatically increase ad revenues for publishers. Over the years, Kean has perfected the proprietary MonetizeMore ad optimization model and now increases ad revenues for hundreds of publisher networks in over 40 countries.
Kean is an avid sport enthusiast and an even more passionate guy about traveling. He lives his dream of traveling the world and growing MonetizeMore. Kean believes that everyone on the MonetizeMore team should have location and time freedom. This means each team member has the ability to set their own schedules and work from anywhere in the world. This is the lifestyle Kean has created for himself and he believes each team member deserves a similar work lifestyle.
When an apples-to-apples comparison of gender pay for the exact same position and seniority is done on base salaries across genders, there are still pay gaps found in some companies. Typically, this wage gap shows males having higher base salaries than females. This is a symptom of the below issues:
– Institutional Discrimination: People in leadership positions are sometimes governed by more traditional views. These views tend to be very old during a time where women being a stay-at-home Mom was the norm. This view also carries a bias towards expecting women to perpetuate this tradition rather than contributing to the labour force. This core belief is a strong bias that can rear it’s ugly head when making promotion, compensation offer or review decisions. As a result, female base salaries tend to skew lower thanks to this institutional bias.
– Lack of Empowerment: In the same traditional companies, females sometimes receive less empowerment and/or encouragement to grow and be rewarded. Opportunities like internal mentorship, career growth training and overall encouragement tend to be reserved for males. With less empowerment, females are less likely to get promoted and are less empowered to negotiate salary. Salary negotiation has been proven to be a strong contributor to overall compensation.
To correct this wage gap, the gender biases held by any company stakeholders must be eliminated. This is something that is quite difficult and cannot be eliminated overnight. It must come from the top and trickle down via the company culture. Without the executive leadership believing in female empowerment, any hope for positive change to eliminate wage gap is gone.
The below tactics can be implemented to counter any institutional bias to eventually minimize the wage gap:
– Data Tracking: The gender wage gap must be tracked on a minimum, quarterly basis. This should be a key performance indicator for the HR team and the stats should be provided to the executive leadership. The stats must be measured on an apples-to-apples comparison. That means genders must only be compared within the same positions with similar seniority. The base salaries should only be measured as well. Bonuses based on performance are intrinsically unbiased and could taint the data if used.
– Internal Audits: If the data shows high wage gaps, an audit must be done to investigate the source of the gap. If any bias is found, the bias and unfair wage gap must be corrected. Part of this audit requires forensic questioning of company leaders to unearth any gender biases that clouds their decisions.
A Culture of Female Empowerment & Success: This is the toughest tactic to implement and enforce. To make any serious change, it requires years of dedication towards such a cause. Executives must lead by example. This could include implementing policies to empower females to grow within the company and be leaders themselves. This could involve female mentorship programs, funding seminars and conferences and/or promoting the most qualified females within the company. Showcasing their success to the whole company is the next important step to inspire other female employees to follow in their footsteps. If implemented diligently, the culture will celebrate female empowerment and success and will not tolerate any toxic gender bias that holds back females and unfairly restricts their compensation.
Nancy Ham joined WebPT as CEO and board member in 2016, bringing with her a wealth of experience in successfully establishing, developing, growing, and operating private and public healthcare information technology companies. As CEO, she focuses on developing innovative strategies to help guide the company through its next phase of growth.
Prior to joining WebPT, Nancy served as CEO of Healthagen Population Health Solutions, an Aetna company. There, she oversaw several tech businesses, including Medicity, the market leader in clinical data exchange and interoperability. Before that, Nancy was president, CEO, and a director of MedVentive (later acquired by McKesson), a provider of performance analytics that enabled ACOs and payers to manage cost, efficiency, and quality. Her experience also includes executive roles at Sentillion, ProxyMed, Healtheon/WebMD, and ActaMed Corporation as well as five years in leveraged finance at GE Capital.
Named by HealthData Management as one of Health IT’s 25 Most Powerful Women Thought Leaders in 2016, Nancy holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke University and a master’s degree in international business studies (MIBS) from the University of South Carolina. In her free time, she enjoys traveling the world, mountain biking, and being outdoors,no matter the season.
There’s a lot at play here. Obviously, biases and stereotypes are a major contributing factor, but it’s the unconscious biases and stereotypes among both men and women that are perhaps the most destructive. We all have them, whether we want to admit it or not. Naturally, these not only shape the way we treat others, but also how we show up,,and sometimes that’s in the form of self-imposed limitations. As such, I believe another contributing factor to the pay gap is the confidence gap.
Compared to men, women aren’t faring as well in negotiations. It’s well documented that women are less likely to negotiate their salaries than men, and even when they do, they don’t ask for as much money as men do. Men tend to have more confidence in their abilities and performance than women, who often underestimate both. And this also shows up in the way women approach promotions,,often automatically disqualifying themselves if they don’t feel they meet 100 percent of the criteria, whereas men will pursue a position if they meet 60 percent of the requirements. On the other side of the equation, entrenched beliefs among company leadership is also a factor. Studies have shown women are typically evaluated for promotions based primarily on performance, while men are often promoted based on potential.
So, there really is a lot contributing to the gender pay gap: biases, beliefs and mindsets on both sides of the gender equation, confidence,and the list goes on.
For pay equality to be achieved, women and men at all levels need to be active participants in the change process. Women must recognize their value as well as opportunities to negotiate and ask for more. But be prepared. If your company has pay scale information, learn and use it. Practice the art of negotiation, and home in on how your skills benefit the organization or align with the promotion you’re seeking.
Leadership, and organizations as a whole, must become more data-driven. This will help identify discrepancies in the pay scale across the team as well as enable managers and leadership to implement compensation systems that are built on objective metrics,thus helping prevent bias from entering the fold. Furthermore, to avoid unconscious bias, organizations must set policies that require the use of data as part of the decision-making process.
This won’t be a fast or easy turn. On average, women earn 83 percent of what men earn, and in healthcare, that percentage is between 72 and 75 percent. We recently conducted a survey of the rehab therapy industry and our data further validated this trend: male therapists are getting paid more than female therapists. Furthermore, we also found that compared to their male counterparts, female rehab therapy students expect to make less money in their first job after graduation, revealing that this is not just a generational issue. There are certain areas, however, in which we’re starting to see that gap narrow. For instance, our data showed the gap in the representation of women at the executive level appears to be closing. So the wheel is starting to turn, albeit slowly.
The bottom line is, if we are to make more marked improvements, we have to become more vocal. Women,,do your homework, know the benchmarks, be confident of your value, and negotiate. Good things don’t actually come to those who wait; they come to those who negotiate!
Chris Uettwiller, CEO, Dirty Robber
Chris Uettwiller is CEO and Executive Producer at Dirty Robber, an Academy Award-nominated production company recognized for its fearless storytelling and award-winning work in film, digital, branded content and advertising.
The company recently produced Tom Vs. Time, a doc series for Facebook Watch, and Breaking2, an award-winning documentary about Nike’s effort to break the 2-hour marathon barrier. Dirty Robber was nominated for an Academy Award in 2013 for its narrative short film Buzkashi Boys. The company has received numerous honors from The One Show, Cannes Lions, AICP and The Webbys for its work in partnership with Nike, National Geographic, AT&T, Showtime, Verizon and others.
Uettwiller is also partner at Coyote Post, an award-winning post-production company specializing in editorial, motion graphics, VFX and color for features, commercials and music videos.
An active member of The Fireflies Cycling Club, Uettwiller recently completed a 550-mile bike ride down the California coast to raise money for The City of Hope.
Jenn Ingalls, Executive Producer, Dirty Robber:
Jen Ingalls is Commercial Executive Producer at Dirty Robber. She has led producer roles at numerous companies, including RSA Films, Iconoclast Films, Supply & Demand, Reset Content LLC and more.
Jenn has a Bachelor of Science degree in Film and Television / Theater Production from Emerson College.
Chris: The world of business is often times viewed as being about dominating and avoiding being dominated, so for a lot of CEO’s, there’s a mentality toward being the dominating entity. This type of thinking is very embedded in our culture and really impacts how businesses are grown , it doesn’t allow for people to work toward a common goal; instead, it creates a sense of competition and unfairness in the workplace. To try and change ideas, habits and the thought process of powerful people in business can be very difficult, even if the rest of the world is moving in another direction. A lot of this starts at a very young age, hence why you can’t close the gender wage gap overnight. One important way to begin a conversation around gender wage gap is to include women in these conversations,¦so I invited my executive producer Jenn Ingalls to join me.
Jenn: An individual’s upbringing plays a huge factor in how they approach fairness and equality in the workplace. Women, even those who might be in higher leadership positions, may find that they have to do everything better and faster than their male counterparts; they can’t be sick or have a bad day as it’ll impact their performance. This type of thinking deters from getting the best performance from employees and it creates an atmosphere of fear in the workplace.
Chris: There is a part of closing the gender wage gap that’s about how we’re raised; we have to learn to raise sensitive and compassionate boys and girls to drive change. I believe that change is completely possible and we should be responsible by molding our youth now, rather than waiting until someone is a CEO. In running my own company, Dirty Robber, I’m very aware about having the right balance of people, and not putting any gender, race or color above another. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done around this country to change minds and if we all work toward that common goal, we can create an empowering, creative and success-driven environment for all.
Jenn: We’re now starting to see change in the country , starting with the acceptance of gay rights and the fact that we elected to the highest position in the land a man of minority (Former President Obama). These changes give us the opportunity to start looking within our own homes, neighborhoods and communities and start making meaningful changes. In addition, more companies should have mentorship programs where they’re bringing up women executives and mentoring them through their careers (Cannes conducted this for its Advertising Festival).
Furthermore, CEO’s need to be vocal about wanting gender equality within their four company walls; they need to have an open-door policy to further discuss how to be inclusive in all aspects and areas within the company. They need to be persistent about pursuing all types of talent , from all walks of life. With this, they’ll find a richness in having other voices represent their team, which is essentially good for business as well. I firmly believe that men and women in positions of power need to be supported and should support their male and female counterparts respectively.
Finally, to see change, you have to be vocal; always be aware of the dynamic in meetings. Look around your boardroom and be a good shepherd when it comes to business interactions. If you see a colleague trying to finish her sentence, but she’s constantly being interrupted, step in and ensure that she’s able to complete her sentence, ensuring that everyone has a reason to be at the table.
Steph is a social entrepreneur and community builder with nine years of operational experience in the Middle East, South Asia, and the United States. She co-founded Solstice, an enterprise dedicated to radically expanding the number of American households that can take advantage of affordable solar energy. She is a Techstars alum and was selected as an Echoing Green Climate Fellow, a Global Good Fund Fellow, a Kia Revisionary, a Grist 50 Fixer, a GLG Social Impact Fellow, a Cordes Fellow, and an Acumen Global Fellow, all of which recognize emerging leaders in social enterprise.
Steph previously worked in sales and marketing at d.light India, a solar products company powering areas without reliable electricity; spearheaded Acumen’s renewable energy sector investment strategy in Pakistan; developed Middle East policy as the youngest-ever Director at the White House National Security Council; and managed field operations in seven states for the first Obama presidential campaign. She holds a BA from Yale and a Master in Public Affairs with distinction from Princeton, and recently earned her MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she was a recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.
The wage gap is a thorny issue precisely because it’s so complex and so often boiled down to a number like 77 cents. That simple number helps us tell the story of what we experience in the workplace: differential treatment of our ideas and capacity for leadership, that, over time, keep more women from the roles where we can contribute most. At the same time, it glosses over the root causes that have allowed this issue to persist, and the common-sense solutions that will allow us to change.
The biggest barriers to progress on pay equity are the norms that implicitly and explicitly tell us who can succeed in what role. I have spent most of my career in national security and clean energy, two industries that seldom see women leadership. When leadership roles are dominated by men, it reinforces a culture that puts inclusivity low on the list priorities. This has resulted in family leave policies that are years behind international norms, and limit women’s ability to integrate their professional and family responsibilities. Women are also excluded from high-paying, male-dominated professions, while traditionally female-dominated professions see lesser compensation for comparably skilled positions.
We also need to be honest about what racial groups are disproportionately affected by the wage gap. As an Asian-American woman, I enjoy privileges not felt by other women of color. Compared with salary information for white male workers, Asian women’s salaries show the smallest gender pay gap, at 87 percent of white men’s earnings. The gap was largest for Hispanic women, who were paid only 54 percent of what white men were paid in 2016.
In short, the problems underlying the wage gap are much the same as they were half a century ago. What’s clearer than ever before is that we need to do better than naming the occasional woman or gender non-conforming person to a position of power. People in positions of power have to be held responsible for fundamentally reshaping the cultures of their workplaces and putting policies in place that ensure equal opportunity for all.
What We Need To Do To Narrow The Gender Wage Gap
First, comes accountability. Male and female CEOs alike must prioritize shaping an inclusive workplace as a fundamental part of their leadership development; and stakeholders need to hold leaders accountable for results, rather than intentions — just like they do for every other aspect of their organization. At a national level, our policymakers need to catch up with nearly universal international norms for guaranteed family leave and inclusive work scheduling.
Perhaps the hardest shift to make is the macro-level cultural shift on gender norms in leadership and the professions. Leaders need to redouble our efforts to hire women and other underrepresented groups into leadership roles — and that means leaving behind excuses about a lack of qualified candidates and actively seeking to reach folks in the areas where they’re looking for work. Solstice actively recruits from community colleges, for example.
It also means establishing job training programs at the level of industry groups, industry-leading companies, and governments, that work to include underrepresented groups in that industry. This will bring more women into high-paying, male-dominated professions (such as the construction professions), but it will also bring more men into caregiving and other traditionally female-dominated professions. We need this exchange now more than ever, because it is the only way that we will be able to spark widespread questioning over the value we place on skilled professions that have been traditionally gender-identified.
Originally published at medium.com