Today is equal pay day!
Today is “equal pay” day and in Australia, as in most countries, women experience a pay gap, which will amount to about $1,000,000 over their full life. In Australia this gap has hovered at just below 20% for several decades, with some industry segments measured with a gap of over 30%
Most of the articles written encourage women to seek the remuneration they deserve and definitely women need to be more confident in their discussions about money. Waiting and hoping will not change the situation.
However, there is also research that shows although men are expected to seek higher wages, and respected for doing so, when women do, they are seen to be aggressive. So women have the difficult challenge of asking for pay increases but risking being seen as aggressive.
WGEA has a powerful initiative encouraging CEO’s to sign up as “pay equality champions”. It is obvious however, that CEO’s already know the problem but have been slow in addressing the problem or feel that it is sufficient to gradually address the problem over a number of years. This assumes they will be there for the time required and the initiative does not get dropped over time. Quite seriously that is just unfair.
One organisation, simply made the powerful decision that they would “fix the problem” and with one move equalised men and women’s remuneration. To me, that is leadership.
It would be powerful to see organisations share their successful initiatives as it is obvious that the gap today demonstrates that unequal pay in not high on the organisational priorities. Unfortunately “name and shame” is probably needed to force the change.