Women’s Day – a long way to go

n597227289_319928_7864Hear that crack in the glass ceiling? Not quite earth shattering despite our rallying calls to gender equality and sharing heart-warming stories about how far we’ve come. But let’s face it, for the 21st century has the fairer sex really come as far as we’d like to make out?

I don’t think so – I think the world could do better.

Much of what I see is just “politically correct” talk, but not much action. Companies are still unfair when it comes to salary distribution and positions in senior management. Men are paid double their female colleagues, and the irony is that we sometimes end up doing the lion share of the work (men are excellent at delegating).

Am I cynical? Yes.

n2249748681_35197I was brought up to believe that women were making leaps and bounds in equality and March 8th is a celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. We have achieved so much and I sincerely thank those brave women role models for daring to push the boundaries. But should we rest on our laurels?

Why in the corporate world, are we still struggling for fairness?

Shouldn’t we give merit to performance and not the old boy school connection?

Should she be penalised as a woman because senior management think she’s likely to have babies and take time off for the family and therefore should not be paid equal to that of her testosterone colleagues?

Is it enough to have a ‘female representative’ out of a male majority and congratulate ourselves and say “hey we’re all for women’s rights, we have a woman on the board!”

Am I unfair? Ok I’ll back this up with some figures. 

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, published October 2007:

-       Over the course of her career, the average woman loses approximately $USD 523,000 to the wage gap.

-       Many of the widest pay gaps occur in the best-paid jobs with the most highly educated workers

-       Women are less likely than men to receive additional compensation in forms other than salary (e.g., performance bonuses, stock options, profit sharing)

2008 Catalyst Census of Women Corporate Officers and Top Earners of the Fortune 500 (published January 2009):

-       In 2008, women held 15.7% of corporate officer positions at Fortune 500 companies.

-       Women held 6.2% of top earner positions; in 2007, this number was 6.7%.

-       The number of companies with no women corporate officers increased from 74 in 2007 to 75 in 2008.

In Australia, a report (2008 data for Equal Opportunities for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA), was published that fewer women are making it to the top in the corporate world, a trend that has been particularly noticeable over the last two years, including UK, USA and Canada.

I don’t wish to rain on the parade. We have achieved a great deal but the reality on an everyday basis is still very far from where we really ought to be. It’s 2009 – do you think in the corporate world when you publish gender ratios with the obvious salary gap, that this is something to be proud of?

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