It really isn’t news: when there are more women in the workplace everybody benefits.
In Canada, for example, studies have shown that as the ratio of women in the workplace has increased, so has the country’s GDP by more than $130 billion dollars. The same thing has happened in nations all over the world. Yet, here in the US, the number of women in the workplace remains dismal.
Even when companies do hire women, those women are paid less than their male counterparts. Some members of congress (conveniently, those who voted against the equal pay bill this summer) say that this is because the studies are comparing the wages of men in high earning fields like engineering and medicine to women in low earning fields like human services and administration. According to a recent article in Time, though, the numbers are the same in almost every profession. In computer engineering, for example, women are paid on average 20% less than men who hold the same jobs.
Compounding this are fields in which the female populations are disastrously low in spite of the monoliths within them touting their internal diversity. Google is one of the worst offenders of this. For all of its bragging about diversity, women make up only 30% of their employees. When those numbers went public, Google started scrambling to prove that it was the cultural leader it has always tried to be.
Hillary Clinton insists that it isn’t simply a matter of gender that punishes women but the choices that those women make. For example, it is true that women, almost across the board, are paid less than their male counterparts. It is also true–though it gets far less press–that women who have children are paid less than women who do not have children even when those women have the same jobs.
Knowing these numbers can be disheartening, sure, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it–especially if you are an employer. There are lots of things that women and employers can do to improve their numbers and to equalize their hiring practices across the board.
For example, it would be beneficial for job seekers and employers alike to remember that recruiting companies are assets: a lot of people look at headhunters and recruiters as a means to an end, to be partnered with only after solo searches haven’t gone as well as one had hoped. The truth is that recruiters are great for making placements that are beneficial to all parties involved. A female engineer can work with recruiters who have experience with STEM program placements to find placement within a company that is not only diverse in its hiring practices but offers family friendly benefits packages as well–paid family leave, extensive maternity leave, flexible work schedules, etc.
It is also important for companies to look into why their gender disparities exist in the first place. This is what Google has been doing. They are conducting surveys and studies to figure out where their employment bias has come from as well as the things they can do to change that bias. They are conducting a series of workshops in which employees are educated about what their internal biases might be as well as some things they can do to change them.
For women seeking jobs, it is important that they learn as much about their potential employers as possible so that they can make informed choices during things like salary negotiations. This is going to be harder to do in a privately held company (public employee salaries are usually published openly) but you can try to find, at the very least, a ballpark figure. This is where working with a headhunter or staffing agency is also helpful. They will know those numbers and can help you make sure that you don’t enter the company already earning less than a male counterpart.
It is also important to understand that, even though it is infuriatingly slow going, progress is being made. While Congress might have voted against equal pay, that hasn’t kept companies like Google from working hard to make changes and confront biases within themselves. It’s certainly not enough, but it isn’t nothing.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I’ve accepted that I am not perfect, but I can always improve by learning more.
What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I appreciate my writing ability and love of learning. I’m still learning to appreciate that I can’t be good at everything, but I can always improve my skills.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
I’m proud of being a published author. I dream of being able to do this for a living full time.
We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?
My imperfect quirk that make me who I am is my ability to find humor in anything. You shouldn’t take like too seriously sometimes.
“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)
Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?
I love my bicycle because it lets me be free and escape into the present moment.