How News on the Gender Pay Gap Made Me Bald (!)

Cartoon from 1970s

Much has been said about the Gender Pay Gap reporting, deadline midnight on 4th April, 2018, which predictably showed that women earn less then men (who knew?) The airwaves were full of it.

Two justifications for this imbalance were frequently made which had me tearing my hair out.

Women Choose to Earn Less

The first assertion I heard several times was that women made conscious choices to work part time because they wanted to look after children and therefore earned less. No one’s fault but their own.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Women make ‘choices’ based on what is available to them and what is available to women is not much. The whole world of work is predicated upon the idea that there is someone at home to look after children, do caring, cooking and cleaning, etc. It is not child friendly. Indeed not one jot of thought was given to the issue of childcare when our current working practices were initiated. Men and women are still socialised to believe that women are more caring and therefore better suited to these roles, disadvantaging both. We have very poor child care available in this country and huge stigma is still attached to working women. If they work full time women get it in the neck about not being good Mums. If they work part time women get it into the neck about not being serious players. ‘Part time’ is almost always preceded by ‘just’. And all the while conditions exist which mean men get more pay for similar work, this will keep happening as couples cannot afford to let men stay home, even if they wanted to. It’s Catch 22.

Yet I am pretty certain if lots of men took up part time working it might not be ‘just part time’ for long. Because part time work is not valued the confidence of women gets eroded yet another reason they find it much harder to get back to work. Women in ‘non professional roles’ take anything they can get hold of to make ends meet and which will fit in with all their other responsibilities.

Add to that the blatant discrimination women receive in the work place and the unconscious bias prevalent within us all which disadvantages women in all areas of life, and the word choice begins to look a bit flakey.

Men Work Really Long Hours and Much Harder Than Women (and thus get to very senior positions which skews the figures.)

This one was almost laughable except it kept getting so much airtime I am now nearly bald.

It was especially good when accompanied by something along the lines of (patronising tone adopted) Women are too clever to work all those hours. They have managed to get a real work life balance. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know I had a bit to say about this particular item on BBC Radio 4 Today. Give me strength!

Leaving aside the fact that studies frequently show, despite some positive changes, working women still do most of the housework, childcare etc, this is an outrageous statement. Most senior women I know have had to work incredibly hard to get through all the barriers strewn in their path. Usually without the benefit of someone at home taking care of everything else so they can focus totally on their 80 hour weeks.

What I sincerely believe is that if we had a genuine gender balance at the top of organisations everything would improve for everyone and we’d all be better off.

Anyway, enough on that. I am off to Google ‘wigs’ as I’ve done so much hair rending this week! In the meantime, do take a look at what is coming up.

Upcoming Events

April 17th, Arnos Vale, Bristol. My seminar on language, more specifically language used about women, language at work. Based on research with an opportunity to think how this relates to you and what we can do it about it, without having to ape male behaviours. Just £49.50, and two hours long. More information here.

June 12th, Arnos Vale, Bristol. My next open RenewYou course is happening! £350 per individual person, to include your RenewYou journal plus if you book before the end of April, I will give you some free follow up coaching. Knowing numbers in advance really helps us in planning so frankly I am trying to bribe you. There is another course pencilled in for September so if that suits you better let me know.

MBTI and Coaching. You may know that I trained to deliver the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory in the US (at the original college). You may also know it’s a personality profiling tool invented by two women (yay!) and is one of the best available, still in existence after 60+ years. I love it as a coaching ‘tool’. Read more about what we can do together here. As I use Skype, or FaceTime or even the phone, we can do that wherever you are, at any time. It’s a great investment in your career with a lasting impact.

Joining Us. If becoming a RenewYou trainer is of interest to you,  check out this page. I’m currently looking for fabulous women to work with!

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Posted on April 5th, 2018 by

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