It’s about more than a paycheck! 

We know what we want, but we don’t seem to know how to get it. To truly close the pay gap we need more representation across all levels of an organisation, from the top right down to those entry-level positions, and we need those women to be paid the same as their male counterparts. So how do we do that? 
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With its release in the last week of February, everyone has been reading the WGEA Gender Pay Gap Report 2023. Sadly, there were few surprises in this report by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. 

FACT: There is still a pay gap! The current average gap is sitting at 21.7%. 

For a median wage earner this could be a significant amount of money (which in the current economic times, we could all use). 

FACT: There have been actions taken and progress has been made.  

But actions have been limited and nowhere near enough progress has been made. 

FACT: 57% of companies are reviewing like for like pay differences. 

Hmmm, what about the other 43% of companies? 

FACT: 50% are ‘reviewing decision-making processes and analysing performance’.  

This sounds a lot like when I was twelve and I’d ask my Dad for something and he’d say, ‘I’ll think about it.’ Which, from the experience of all twelve-year-olds, we know really means, ‘No chance. You’re kidding! It’s never going to happen!’ 

It’s not just women who know this isn’t right! Surely we all know that inequity is bad for individuals, families, companies, teams and societies. The outcomes we want are pretty clear and simple.  

We know what we want, but we don’t seem to know how to get it. To truly close the pay gap we need more representation across all levels of an organisation, from the top right down to those entry-level positions, and we need those women to be paid the same as their male counterparts. So how do we do that? 

ORGANISATIONS 

Open up opportunities 

We know that, especially at the most senior levels, most decision-makers are men – men who need to actively change their decision-making behaviour to ensure women are given opportunities for roles, ensure that women are given options for learning and development and ensure that the women in these roles are supported and empowered to be successful. 

Actions you can take as a decision-maker 

  • Ensure diversity in your shortlists.  

There needs to be at least 50% women – and not just ‘token’ women who will never get the job – on your shortlist. Work with your HR and recruitment teams to ensure that they have scoured the planet for qualified or high-potential women for any role vacancy.  

Be patient. Don’t interview until you have this.  

When you have your shortlist, ensure there is a diverse panel of interviewers who are brave enough to challenge the opinions of the most senior person in the room.   
 

  • Question your assumptions and rules for hiring.  

Why are the requirements for any particular role mandatory? Does this person really have to be on a plane every week? Do they really have to have precisely the same previous experience, or could a different lens benefit the role or organisation? 

When it comes to hiring, there is often both conscious and unconscious biases about women, especially working mothers and even more so single working mothers. How will they manage? How will they juggle work and home responsibilities? Are they up for this?  

Consider: are you asking these same questions of the other 50% of divorced families who have children? The single dads? If you are going to ask such questions, ask them of both men and women. But better yet, don’t ask them at all. Assume that the men and women sitting in front of you are there because they’re willing and able to do the job! 

  • Get uncomfortable. 

People who are different from us, whether that be in terms of gender, culture, religious background, age, education or experience, can make us uncomfortable. They don’t get us, we don’t get them. Communication styles may be different. 

I get it. I wish more people were like me, but that would be a disaster in any organisation – just ask my team of very-different-from-me people!  

Instead of hiring mini mes, why not try to actively look to hire people who will challenge you? Imagine what could happen with someone challenging the way you work, and collaborating with people who can help you think bigger and bolder. 
 

  • Be willing to work hard. 

Men are great at networking, referrals and helping each other. That’s what the old boys’ network is all about. It’s time to widen that network and include some women. It might take a little more work but it will enrich your connections and your pool of talent. Go out and find some high-potential women at ALL levels of your organisation. Commit to mentoring and sponsoring women in your industry or organisation – not just the men.  

WOMEN 

Get out of our own way  

Clearly there are some systemic issues regarding equality and equity. Women struggle with this in almost all aspects of our lives. It’s a fact. So, the question becomes: ‘What are YOU going to do about it?’  

It isn’t always easy. Sometimes we try and we push and we advocate and still no one listens. But we can’t stop or give up hope. So ask yourself, what could you do? 

Actions women can take to help battle bias 

  • Start saying ‘Yes’. 

When an opportunity appears, stop finding all the reasons it will not work.  

Yes, you could fail but what will you learn?  

Yes, you might be rejected but you will let them know that you are interested.  

Yes, it could involve more work and a learning curve, so what else has to change to accommodate this?  

We can’t continue to lay all the blame on men, on society or on history for our position if we are saying no to opportunities when they present themselves. 

  • Ask for help. 

Be brave and have the tough conversations that need to be had. And ask for help.  

Who can help? Your partner, boss, friends, family? It isn’t a weakness to admit you need help, whether that means setting boundaries with your partner so that they will also do some school pick-ups or sharing the caretaking of your parents with your siblings. It’s okay to share the load. If you never ask for help, how will things ever change? 

  • Stop being so awesome. 

I am sure you do everything. Help colleagues at work when they’re snowed under. Help a friend when they’re going through a hard time. Do most of the housework whether you have kids or not.  

Stop it!  

What if your house is untidy and there are a few dishes in the sink? What if the kids get a lunch order instead of organic raspberries and homemade yoghurt? Does it really matter? 

Beat down that inner perfectionist and helper who wants everything to be right and everyone to be happy. That is not your job. Think about making yourself happy for a change. 

Finally, for both women and organisations, if you aren’t happy with where you are at, whether with the representation of women in leadership roles at your workplace, your hiring practices or your own role – do something about it! 

For women, start asking, stop waiting; set a plan and get moving.  

For organisations, stop thinking, stop discussing and start investing time, effort and money to change things. 

And if you would like to find out more about how Peeplcoach has been part of the solution, moving the dial on women in leadership, book a time to chat with us now

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