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The pay gap, time to get real no? By Dr Rod Gutierrez Let me start
The pay gap, time to get real no? By Dr Rod Gutierrez Let me start

The pay gap, time to get real no?

By Dr Rod Gutierrez

Let me start by stating that I have two teenage daughters and so I have a vested interest to see this issue resolved in my lifetime. And international women’s day is a good day as any to post this article.

The problem

In simple terms, Nature has deployed great physiological ingenuity to make sure that the earth is populated by roughly equal numbers of males and females noting that there can be complex issues pertaining

to the gender identity question that are beyond the scope of this article. Our social

to the gender identity question that are beyond the scope of this article.

Our social structures and cultural norming have determined that the work that women do, in economic terms, is viewed as fundamentally less valuable than that of men. Currently, the national gender pay gap is at 16% and has lingered between 15% and 19% for the past 2 decades (Gender Pay Gap Statistics 2017, Australian Government Workplace, Gender Equality Agency). And indeed that their representation in senior jobs, appointment and high places is also less than that of men. Statistics show that women hold 14.2% of chair positions, 23.6% of directorships, and 15.4% of CEOs (Gender workplace statistics at a glance 2016, Australian Government Workplace, Gender Equality Agency). Further the total number of women in parliament is 32%, albeit this has risen slightly (The Gender Composition of the 45th parliament, 2016 Parliament of Australia). Whilst the number of women appointed to professorial positions in our universities is fractional to that of men.

The solution?

Let’s get all those very powerful men who maintain the status quo to be on the side of equality; let’s make them “male champions of change” because the solution is to have the powerful on your side right? And whilst some executives may feel enlightened and good about themselves, little has come of these types of initiatives. Women still remain disadvantaged in just about every measure of equivalence.

An alternative is perhaps to invest in some unconscious bias training. These are designed to unpick some of our inbuilt cognitive errors

which lead to people of all descriptions including women becoming seen as “other”. Because it’s

which lead to people of all descriptions including women becoming seen as “other”. Because it’s well established of course, that you can change the social order by making people aware of their shortcomings with information and neurocognitive factoids, or is it? Nothing like some training to make us feel good about doing something. Random acts of activity continue to get in the way of making real change.

Others go for a more corporate approach. Let’s form an equity and access committee! Or even better, build a whole function under HR called Diversity Inclusion and Equity, or Equity Inclusion and Diversity or some anagram of that. Maybe even bring in some DI consultants to work with the executive and figure out a 5-year strategy where gender pay gaps can be folded into all other diversity topics like employing people who think, look and act differently into the organisation; and of course provide due supportive rhetoric, of the lip service variety, to the minority of focus for today [insert minority name here].

Alternatively, we can run quasi-marketing social media campaigns and have people post pictures of themselves holding signs, telling the already bold to be bolder; and bring about change by the magical virtue of the collective, yet tokenistic will of a hashtag on the internet.

Or just make it happen and let it be so?

Then there is this. Let's stop talking about it. Stop saying this is an issue. Stop stalling. Stop. And enact real pay equality measures that in three years sees men and women doing similar jobs get paid equivalently in your organisation. Paying women, the same as men will cost businesses money, this is the reality that we all need to face

and is what lies at the very centre of this debate. And before we go

and is what lies at the very centre of this debate. And before we go and get busy working out the ROI, let’s remember why we are doing it. First and foremost, we should do it because it’s fair and it’s right. Same pay for same work is not a difficult concept; yet we have managed to muddle it beyond our comprehension, conveniently inhibiting progress in the process.

References:

· Gender Pay Gap Statistics 2017, Australian Government

Workplace, Gender Equality Agency, https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/Gender_Pay_Ga

p_Factsheet.pdf

· Gender workplace statistics at a glance 2016, Australian Government Workplace, Gender Equality Agency,

http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Department

s/Parliamentary_Library/FlagPost/2016/August/The_gender_composi

tion_of_the_45th_parliament

Gender workplace statistics at a glance 2016, Australian Government Workplace, Gender Equality Agency, https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/Stats_at_a_Glan ce.pdf

About Dr Rod Gutierrez Across the continents, Rod has collaborated with clients in the fields

About Dr Rod Gutierrez

Across the continents, Rod has collaborated with clients in the fields of: financial services, insurance, oil and gas, mining and resources, government as well as rail , engineering and FMCG. Through his work, he has designed strategies and implementation programs to undertake results- driven business improvement, while at the same time addressing ‘people’ challenges associated with business transformation. In addition, he has provided executive coaching and advice to senior leaders for over 15 years. Until recently, he was Global Leader for Capability, Culture and Change Management at the DuPont Corporation. Rod Currently Leads consulting for LHH.

Rod holds undergraduate qualifications in psychology from the University of Newcastle as well as a PhD from Sydney University. He is a full member of the Australian and American Psychological Societies, the Australian Human Resources Institute as well as the International Society for Coaching Psychology.