Equal Pay 116 Years Away?!?

20170121_104433To know where to start after knowing a fact like the title, well, it would take a special kind of person to do this subject justice.  I’m sure going to try.

Let’s start first by taking note that Google is currently fighting government accusations it is systematically paying women less than their male counterparts. Google argues it is not true. It has provided the government with hundreds of documents, and the government is now requesting more paperwork.

We have yet to find out if Google isn’t paying its women employees equally.

What we do know is, on average, women make less than their male counterparts.

We also know President Trump just rolled back regulations put in place by the Obama administration that had the goal of pay equality.

The fight is still on for women to make the same amount as men doing the same work.

Here are the cold hard facts, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report done in 2015:

  • Women were, on average, in 2015, making what men did in 2006.
  • The Nordic countries, Ireland, and Rwanda are doing the best to close the pay gap. The U.S. is not in the top 10.
  • Out of 145 countries, there are only 4 where women make more than men. All are in Africa.
  • It could take 116 years to close the gender pay gap. 116 years?! (The study said 118 years, but it was done 2 years ago.)

I found out about this report during dinner I was having with a friend who was in from out-of-town. This female friend and I met while working at The Weather Channel.  We both held higher positions in the company, hers was higher as a VP. We were both respected on a wider level at TWC. We both worked our butts off.

Anyway, she and I were diving into the subject of being a woman in the workplace. For us, the conversation shifted often toward being a mother in the workplace, but regardless, our focus was on how women are treated compared to men.

I wish everyone the fortune of having a friend like mine. She can spark a passion with the wealth of knowledge she has on issues like these.

At one point she brought up the fact that led to the title of this blog.

“We will never see equal pay in our lifetime! Our daughters will never see equal pay in THEIR lifetimes!”

Whoa.

While pay is a quantitative measure of equality in the workplace, we did also talk about something that people often whisper about, or maybe even dismiss as weak.

How women are treated in the workplace

She and I can swap stories like trading cards. I am sure any woman reading this can as well. Heck, some men can share stories they have heard from the women in their lives. My husband could write a book just on the stories I’ve told him.

Like, the time I told my boss I was pregnant (for the first time), and he said I need to hire a nanny if I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. My husband’s boss didn’t even bring up childcare.

Or, the time I got yelled at because I had to pump. (Yes, breast milk. Let’s not go into the code words I was asked to use instead of “pump”.)

My least favorite times was whenever one or both of my kids got sick. Even though I would continue to work from home, with a sick baby on my lap, and get everything done I would have gotten had I stayed at work, I wasn’t working hard enough.

I could go on, and I’m sure many of you have so many stories, and many worse than the ones I feel I can bring up in an open forum.

Before I get to my point, I do want to make an extremely important point.

I have worked for many, MANY, male bosses who have been terrific. I would say I’ve been lucky, but then again, ugh! Lucky? Shouldn’t that just be the norm? Anyway…

I have worked for straight-up decent and caring men.  I didn’t want to leave out the fact that I have just as many great male bosses as I do terrible ones in my past. Of the two women to which I’ve reported, only one was decent.

So, I want to be fair here.

Regardless, one study is saying we will have to wait more than a century to get equal pay.

Most women can tell you they’ve been harassed or mistreated in the workplace, simply because they are women.

Many women would confess they feel “less than” often at work.

So, what do we do about all this?

One start can be from within ourselves. I will admit… stand up right here, right now… raise my right hand… and admit… I do not fight for myself when it comes to equality. Stall 4 in the 1st floor bathroom at one job was my therapy room, where I would go to cry so no one knew my boss got me when he screamed so much his face turned into a tomato red.

I never once inquired what was standard pay for the job I had if I were a man.

I did not tell that boss that telling me I needed a nanny to keep working there was a sexist comment. I did not tell HR he said it.

Why? Because, I did not want to appear weak. I did not want to be labeled a cry baby.

So, women need to figure out a way to stick up for themselves.

Then, elect women. Not just any woman. (Carly Fiorina) I mean women with a vision and the means to execute it. Women who will fight for equality need to be in office.

Support the success of other women. I mean when you see a woman struggling, help her. Be her support in the office. Don’t judge if she doesn’t do things exactly like you do. Mentor her. If you don’t work, and you have a friend who needs your support, give it. Women have a long history of tearing each other down, and judging one another. Don’t be that one.

Protest when you can. Marching in the National Women’s March didn’t change policy, but it was a first step, on a massive scale.  Be active.

How sad that we may not see equal pay in our lifetime.  How much sadder it is if we don’t do anything about it.

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