These days there’s a lot of talk about the wage gap. Women of course, are talking about it, as are lawmakers, consulting firms, large corporations and their HR experts. Beyond equality, it’s clear that closing the gap is not only good for women, it’s good for business and for you, too. If you haven’t personally become involved in the discussion, it’s time, and here’s why.
EY’s audit of 22,000 global businesses found gender-balanced teams produced both better quality and higher financial results, and companies with at least 30% female leaders, can add as much as 6% to their net margins. That means full-scale gender equality could add up to 26% to the global GDP by 2025. That could mean up to $28 trillion, according to a McKinsey Global Institute study.” [Chart below]
So can we be honest? If business is booming and women are happier, who’s really going to benefit? I’ll give you a hint. Happy wife… or Begins with an M and ends with N. Precisely the people we need to show up and advocate for us. There’s just one tiny problem… The American Association of University Women, says the pay gap won’t close until 2152. And worse, according to the USA Today “For women of color, the rate of change is downright glacial — black women will wait until 2124 and Hispanic women will have to wait until 2248.”
So why should this matter to you, personally? Because we – your daughters, wives, sisters – are in the mother of all marathons, barely creeping along on a pace something like an 18-minute mile. Given the long road ahead, and despite those already, thankfully, trudging alongside us, we still need more good men to pound the pavement.
Lace up your sneakers guys – here are 5 things you can do to help us, and YOU, tighten up the pace and get to the finish line, faster:
1) Start with Your Wives and Daughters
One man who takes the wage gap personally is Jeffery Tobias Halter. He is a corporate gender strategist who believes that up to 30% of men in the workforce want to help their female family members reach pay parity. As the President of YWomen, he’s the country’s leading male expert on engaging men in the advancement of women. And, he believes that men are more likely to do so if they have a personal connection.
He admits that despite his generation wanting to raise their daughters to be strong, he felt helpless when it came to their earning potential and that wasn’t good enough. So he created the Father of a Daughter Initiative, a “roadmap for men to make the connection between women at work and their daughters and to stand up for women.”
“My generation of boomer fathers wanted to raise strong daughters,” he said. “We supported their interest in sports, arts and academics. We encouraged them to go to great schools and seek meaningful careers. But when they graduated and were only offered $0.79 for every dollar earned for the same job by our sons, we chose to do nothing.”
The Father of a Daughter Initiative is a pledge, in downloadable PDF format, that men are encouraged to print and hang in their offices to increase visibility and awareness and share actionable steps of support.
2) From the C-Suite to the Home Suite, Take Advocacy Personally
After the World Economic Forum in 2016, Mark Weinberger, Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EY noted that one way his firm was working to close the gender gap globally, was to advocate for women through sponsorship.
He said what many in business already know, “every company, executives and senior managers informally sponsor people on the rise in one form or another.” But he adds that while advocacy does occur in the workplace through coaching, mentoring and sponsorship, those ladders don’t always reach everyone. In everyday businesses, women are often less likely to be sponsored than men.
And for that reason, EY leadership began insisting that their “partners around the world, in every country that [they] operate in… sponsor people that don’t look like them, or come from the same background.” In this way, EY moved on from a casual concept to a more formal program where managers went “beyond giving advice” but instead, made sure to provide experiences and visibility that will advance opportunities and earning potential of those most often missed.
But you don’t have to be part of a program. Think about someone at work, or in one of your professional networks you can partner with. If it makes sense, you can even add it to your own resume as volunteer mentorship. P.S. If not your wife, clear with your wife first. #tipfromawife
3) Encourage Women to Negotiate
Women fall behind when it comes negotiation for many reasons and this is especially true when it comes to starting pay.
The lack of negotiation during the offer stage makes narrowing the gap even harder, considering pay raises are based on a percentage of starting salaries.
I always encourage my candidates to be as transparent as possible when discussing their target salary goals and I’ve noticed for women this is harder. But this is the most opportune time to garner an increase and what’s more, the change won’t likely come again until one makes a career move.
Men, encourage your women to hone their negotiation skills, in an effort to not only negotiate their starting salaries but increase their confidence. I recommend Ask for It, a highly-accessible boutique coaching firm that teaches negotiation and conflict management skills to women. http://askforit.co
4) Push for More Daddy Time Off
Research indicates if male workers received paternal benefits similar to existing maternal ones, then women would be less likely viewed as gaining benefits that aren’t available to men and this will translate to a level playing field and filter through to pay.
The Peterson Institute and EY analysis showed that where more women were in leadership roles, fathers were offered up to 11 times more paternity leave days. Those companies with more generous paternity leave policies were also better at developing and building a pipeline of strong, female talent.
If firms were to give access to 16 weeks paid paternity leave to both men and women, then there’s less reason for women to feel, or be seen as though they’re reaping a reward while they start a family, a reward that isn’t also available to men.However, simply having that policy alone, isn’t good enough.
Everyone must be open to creating a culture where it’s ‘normal’ to use that paternity leave policy – men and women. As men, you can help make it clear that taking parental leave fits with your core values, culture, and beliefs. If you’re in a leadership role, it’s important to demonstrate that paternity leave will never be a barrier to promotion for a woman, or a man.
In short, more men should support equal parental leave and take it when they have that option.
5) Nudge Them to Click Apply
How often do you hear of a male colleague, friend or family member tell you about a job they’ve applied for that sounds pretty far away from their current role? Likely, more often than you’ve heard women say so, that’s for sure. That’s because men typically apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.
The ‘Imposter Phenomenon’ is something that women are uniquely predisposed to feel. Despite all their hard work, qualifications and achievements, they’re still more likely to feel they don’t deserve a top job they’re offered, or to negotiate for a higher salary during promotion discussions.
Now, as a Recruiter and Job Search Advisor, I’m not advocating that it’s right to encourage women to apply to a job that doesn’t align to her skill set, all willy-nilly. But, I do encourage you to encourage your female counterparts to take more risks by clicking apply on those roles which seem slightly out of reach.
Right now companies are more focused on increasing diversity more than ever before, and what’s more, when a resume is received it lands in the applicant database, and becomes viewable by all of the recruiters working to fill roles in the organization.
And that means, if not that role, maybe another. If you know a woman looking for a new job, encourage them to stay open to the possibilities. Tell them they don’t have to check every item on the qualifications list. Tell them what you do, which is, go for it.
This post is republished on Medium.
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