The Gender Pay Gap Blame Game

Debra_BuckleyDebra Buckley

CEO of the New Zealand Institute of Management and Leadership.

Gender pay gap. Are you over it? I am all for equality, however, I struggle with this ongoing idea of blame.

I recently had a 62-year-old male ask me for advice on securing a new executive-level role, as he was continuously being challenged about his age and he is nearing retirement.

He would also add that he felt gender equality was part of his struggle with some organisations looking to add balance to their leadership teams.

There has to be a balance, but most importantly there must be transparency in the process, not only for this guy, but for all of us.

I am often invited to speak at women-only events, which provides a great environment for like-minded women to share their views and network. However, I wonder how I would feel if there was an event I wanted to attend which was restricted by age or ethnicity. We need to be mindful of the picture we paint in our race for equality.

I have no intention of questioning the progress made in recent years when it comes to gender equality and I agree we have a long way to go.

In trying to resolve it, it helps to understand how we got here. What is the precedent? How did women become involved in paid employment?

We were never officially invited to be equal employees; it was a stop-gap during war. There wasn’t a thought about equality, rates of pay, or women remaining once all the men came home. The world simply had a labour shortage and women were the solution. There lies the problem and with some reflection, precedent could get us out of it.

Research from the Ministry for Women tells us that causes of the gender pay gap are complex. Around 20 percent of the gender pay gap was due to differences in education, the occupations and industries that men and women work in. That means the majority, 80 percent, of the gender pay gap is now driven by unexplained factors.

Those factors are behaviour and attitudes, and once you gain the insight into how we got here, you have a better chance of putting it right. When the values of an organisation are things like integrity, respect, honesty and loyalty, and they still operate without transparency, surely that is the biggest roadblock to true equality.

Select your employees based on capability and desired behaviours. Precedent may well form part of the reason, but does not need to remain the excuse.

Author: magazinestoday

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