Being a woman in today’s world is challenging in and of itself – if you are anything like me, your mind is like a browser with 500 tabs open at all times and the last thing I want to worry about is the gender pay gap…
To be honest, I am excited to see how far women have come in the workplace. Do we have a way to go? Yes, but here is an example of how much we have advanced on this topic.
Back in the 1950’s a newspaper article thought to be written by the New York Daily Mirror was published with the title “If a woman needs it, should she be spanked?” It’s an interesting step back into a time, almost 70 years ago, where women were expected to be subservient to men. Out of the four men interviewed, all four agreed that women do need to be spanked, especially when they are acting up.
“It teaches them who’s boss. A lot of women seem to forget this is a man’s world.”
“Most of them have it coming to them anyway. If they don’t, it will remind them how well off they are.”
My personal favorite, however, was from Frank Desiderio – a barber in New York, who commented on the usefulness of using a hairbrush.
While the birth of domestic abuse organizations and equality movements has helped curve the idea that women should be infantilized in the workplace, results suggest women are not as valued as men. While this is changing, it is still a slow process.
Challenges Women Face in the Workplace
- Work-life balance
- Equal pay
- Career opportunities
- Children and career
Sexual harassment has taken a front seat as one of the main issues women face in the workplace, but it isn’t the only challenge present in the day-to-day lives of women (click here to see what the laws are in Missouri). There are still the issues of equal pay gaps and a lack of equal opportunity, but let’s not forget work-life balance and having children while building a career.
While women are almost half of the labor force, surprisingly less than 5% of them are CEOs, and less than 10% of them are top earners in the S&P 500; unfortunately, women in minorities are nearly invisible on both S&P 500 boards and Fortune 500 boards.
But here’s a positive spin on this: if we look at humanity over the last 2000 years, we begin to see that promoting equality in the workplace is relatively new. Think about it – as a species, this is all new territory for us! We are in the middle of this evolutionary process, on the cusp of change, and in my opinion, it is an exciting time to be alive.
The Gender Pay Gap
There are many countries which aren’t making the move to having equality in the workplace. Jordan is one such country. Despite women having equal or greater education than men, and experience 20% unemployment compared to Jordanian men at 10% unemployment. Women are only guaranteed 15 of Parliament’s 225 seats.
Let’s look at Iran, which ranks 141 out of 145 countries in the 2015 Global Gender Gap Index.
Or how about India, which would gain an estimated 700 billion to the National economy should the 30% of women employed increase according to a 2015 report from the McKinsey Global Institute. While many countries have laws protecting gender equality, many of these laws aren’t strongly enforced.
And let’s not forget South Korea, where women earn less than a third of their male counterparts.. (Taken from an article by USA News found here).
Compared to the United States, we are one of few countries which have paid maternity leave. However, according to Gallup, women, on average in the United States, earned 83% of what men earned in 2016.
Top 10 Countries for Gender Equality
According to an article by CNN, here are the top 10 countries ranked for gender equality:
- New Zealand
- The Philippines
In summary, we aren’t where we want to be as a country but we have made important strides. I remember working at a specific company before I made my International move to Malaysia, and after being at a company for a year (whose name shall not be mentioned), they hired a gentleman the same age as me who was making $1 more per hour. The only way I found this out was because we happened to be roommates (I was in college at the time). Naturally, I was outraged, but because we weren’t allowed to discuss our personal pay during that time, I never brought it up to any of my superiors. Luckily, this has changed according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and an April 2014 Executive Order from President Obama.
One of the things you can do, if you feel you are not earning equal to your male counterparts at work, is to talk to Human Resources. They should be able to steer you in the right direction.