It is International Women’s day.
We all know many inspiring women around our startup community, and how can we appreciate them and show our support? While we want to send them cute texts and appreciation stories, there’s something more that we all can do.
We’ve been bombarded by retail stores to show appreciation by buying gifts and showering them with material goods, while that is a lovely gesture, it is also essential to make a stand for structural change.
The national gender pay gap is 15.3 percent, with women earning on average, $253.70 a week less than men.
Yes, the pay gap still exists and we all have a part in this role.
Before I jump into what we can do as leaders, allies and regular human being with a heart, I’ll lay down some statistics for you.
As mentioned the national gender pay gap is at 15.3 percent, and it has always hovered around there for years.
The gender pay gap is the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is a measure of women’s overall position in the paid workforce and does not compare like roles.
The pay gap is influenced by a number of factors as listed by WGEA.
- discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions
- women and men working in different industries and different jobs, with female-dominated industries and jobs attracting lower wages
- women’s disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work
- lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caring and other responsibilities, especially in senior roles
- women’s more considerable time out of the workforce impacting career progression and opportunities.
This pay gap issue starts from graduation, as soon as they graduate women earn less than men in 17 out of 19 fields of study and across nine out of 13 industries.
The pay gap was highest in Financial and Insurance Services industry with 26.1 percent.
There is a 24.9 percent pay gap between male and female key management personnel.
On top of that, women are missing and not represented in the managerial roles as well.
Women hold 13.7 percent of chair positions, 24.9 percent of directorships, as well as represent 16.5 percent of CEOs and 29.7 percent of key management personnel in Agency reporting organisations.
Over one-quarter, 29.1 percent to be exact, of agency reporting organisations have no key management personnel who are women.
Here’s some good news, 43.4 percent of manager appointments in 2016-17 went to women, with the representation of women in management increasing across most industries.
The Australian workforce is highly segregated as well. Women and men in Australia’s workforce are concentrated in different industries, with most industries being dominated by male employees.
Only seven out of 19 industries have at least 40 percent women and men. Women are most concentrated in Health Care and Social Assistance, 80.2 percent female, and Education and Training, 63.4 percent female.
This is primarily due to what we’ve been told of what is a ‘male’ and ‘famale’ job and the stereotypes of what each gender ‘should’ be doing. Which is so wild that it still exists.
Why should we care?
Gender pay gaps are an internationally established measure of women’s position in the economy. And right now, it is not equal.
What do these numbers even do
After showing you all the statistics, is there even any value in that?
Of course, these numbers will help you identify the problem areas, ask questions and implement solutions. And I’m not making this up; I have evidence.
Women’s work / Men’s work is a series by WGEA to combat the stereotypes of gendered jobs, and many policies and strategies are being implemented by different companies.
Another example is a report by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) finds that taking action to correct gender pay gaps is three times more effective when combined with reporting pay gap data to the Executive or Board.
The report also found that more Australian employers than ever are taking action to close gender pay gaps, with organisations in the finance and insurance, and mining sectors leading the way. This is encouraging especially that the finance and insurance sector is the highest for the pay gap.
Employers undertaking a pay gap analysis increased from 24.0 percent to 37.7 percent between 2014 and 2017.
Actions to correct gender pay gaps are three times more effective when combined with reporting to the Executive or Board, although only one in four companies did.
But the positive results are not to be overshadowed; these organisations saw an average reduction of 3.3 percentage points in their organisation-wide gender pay gap in one year.
Compared with organisations that took no action on pay equity, companies that report pay gaps to their Board and correct their like-for-like pay gaps have lower full-time managerial pay gaps: 9.7 percentage points lower for base salaries; 12.7 percentage points lower for total salaries.
Report author and BCEC Principal Research Fellow Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells said the report findings re-affirm the positive steps many Australian organisations are taking to reduce gender pay gaps.
“More employers than ever before are taking pay equity seriously, and we are now starting to see this translating into results,” Associate Professor Cassells said.
“We are seeing a re-balancing between male and female wages, especially among top-tier managers as a result of these actions.”
Report co-author and BCEC Director Professor Alan Duncan said the findings show introducing a combination of pay equity actions leads to far stronger outcomes than single actions.
“Actions to correct like-for-like gender pay gaps are three times as effective in reducing overall pay inequities when combined with reporting to executives and boards,” Professor Duncan said.
WGEA Director Libby Lyons said the report proved the maxim: ‘what gets measured gets managed’.
“Organisational gender pay gaps do not close themselves. They must be quantified and analysed, shared with boards and executive teams and acted upon,” Ms Lyons said.
“This invaluable report is a call to action for boards and executive teams. They need to ask for their organisation’s pay equity metrics and then be accountable for addressing any pay discrepancies.”
So yes, numbers show us what we need to change and taking the step as an employer is definitely important.
What can you do
Now it comes down to actually doing something about this, and there are ways to be an ally for this change.
Being transparent and taking a stand or a pledge publicly as a company to do something about is a great step.
You can be a Pay Equity Ambassadors or a Pay Equity Official Supporter. This leads you to take a real step in pledging to help close the gender pay gap.
By pledging, it shows that organisation has taken a pay gap analysis, this is a great step to understanding the situation in your workplace. It is always important to take a look and your surroundings and start from there.
On top of that WGEA provides a gender strategy toolkit.
The toolkit is a roadmap for helping you start this journey; there are guides on how to create a gender-neutral policy, monitoring the strategies and also an excel tool for conducting the gender equality diagnostic step.
WGEA is not the only one that can help you get started as well.
A-HA! is a Human Agency which is aiming to handle HR differently to improve the human experience in evolving organisations.
They also believe that data is useful in taking the first step.
Hence, A-HA! has created PPLYTX, a cloud-based software program which provides a detailed gender pay analysis based on company data within 60 seconds.
According to Human Resources specialist Simon Corcoran, part of the reason the gender pay gap is increasing is that many businesses do not even know where to start when it comes to gender equality.
Co-CEO of A-HA! Simon Corcoran said creating lasting gender equality is not a matter of giving women a raise.
“It is about creating an inclusive workplace where women have the opportunity to deliver, perform and progress within the company. The problem is that many businesses have no idea how to identify the gender pay gap within their business. They are also unclear on what steps they need to take to level the playing field for the long term. Even with plenty of data at their fingertips, they don’t understand how to use and interpret it.”
“Using PPLYTX, businesses of all sizes can see their gender pay gap figures at a glance. By analysing their data and committing to change, they can take positive action and make 2018 International Women’s Day a launchpad for more positive gender equality,” says Simon.
So there you have it, tools to help you, so no more excuses.
What women bring to the table
If you still need some convincing words on why representation and diversity and inclusion matters, I got just the research for you to sink your teeth in.
Sodexo, a world leader in Quality of Life Services, has found that teams managed by a balanced mix of men and women are more successful across a range of measurements.
This was a pretty massive research, over five years, one-of-a-kind study of 70 entities across different functions represents 50,000 managers worldwide.
And the key findings were worth it.
- Operating margins significantly increased among more gender-balanced teams than other teams.
- Gender-balanced entities had an average employee retention rate that was eight percentage points higher than other entities
- Gender-balanced entities had an average client retention rate that was nine percentage points higher than other entities.
- Gender-balanced management reported an employee engagement rate that was 14 percentage points higher than other entities.
- Gender-balanced entities saw the number of accidents decrease by 12 percentage points more than other entities.
Sodexo Global HR Director, Energy and Resources, Sue Black said the results added a compelling dimension to other research on business benefits of gender equity.
“The distinctive nature of the study, with its examination of both financial and non-financial performance indicators across so many levels of management and the pipeline to leadership, is a significant piece of the overall picture on the importance of gender in the workforce for enhanced outcomes,” she said.
Sodexo is a company worth looking up to and emulate. The company has committed to reaching 40 percent women in senior leadership ranks by 2025 and has linked 10% of bonuses to this metric.
In Australia, more than 50 percent of Sodexo’s workforce and 40 percent of its management team is female.
Sodexo is recognised by the public as well.
They have been named to Bloomberg’s 2018 Gender-Equality Index for its advancement in gender equality and was also recognised as a Catalyst award winner in 2012.
In 2017, Sodexo ranked in the top 10 of Diversity Inc magazine’s ‘Top 50 Companies for Diversity’ list for the 9th consecutive year and the Best Companies for Multicultural Women list by Working Mother Magazine.
Sodexo was also recognised by Fortune Magazine three times in 2017 making FortuneMagazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies list, Fortune Magazine’s Change the Word list and the Fortune 500 list.
So there you have it, a reputable company with a comprehensive research done to prove a point.
No one ever said there was a benefit in a monoculture, yet why are we still keeping that up?
So where do we go from here?
There is no specific time to be like ‘its time to make a stand’, this is a conversation that needs to happen daily, not just on days like this.
Let us make a stand against gender pay disparity and halt this monoculture that we are subconsciously making a stand for.
So, play that girl power song out loud because it is still not getting through some of the thicker skulls.
We all have a part to play in this fight for equality, talk about it, raise questions and issues about it, create conversations, send ripples through the industry. So how will you #pressforprogress?
Let’s all be the ally for the women around us because we know damn well that they are amazing.
And ladies, keep shining.
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