Who’s in the mood for a little myth-busting?
Today is Equal Pay Day. To
celebrate commiserate we thought it would be worth reviewing six of the best excuses for the pay gap – and why they are completely ridiculous.
1. Karma will rectify the pay gap!
Last year Microsoft’s global CEO Satya Nadella prompted a pretty swift and immediate stream of feedback regarding the wisdom he shared at a women in tech conference. “It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise.”
He went on: “That might be one of the initial ‘super powers’ that, quite frankly, women [who] don’t ask for a raise have,” he added. “It’s good karma. It will come back.” To his credit he later offered an unreserved apology and said his advice was wrong. As things stand, if anyone is benefitting from any pay karma swirling around there out there, it ain’t women.
2. If women just asked for more money the pay gap would disappear!
If only! As tempting as it is to blame women’s deficient earnings on their deficient negotiation skills, there’s a stack of compelling evidence that shows when women do ask for more money they’re often punished for it. Why? Because women who ask for money are considered pushy. And apparently no one wants to pay a pushy woman any extra.
3. It’s a myth!
News Limited columnist, Miranda Devine is a significant proponent of this argument. “I know of not a single job where the pay for the sexes is different,” she wrote in one of her many columns on the subject.
It isn’t a myth, it’s maths. The difference between what men and women earn in fulltime roles is 17.9%. That figure is not a figment of any person’s imagination. It is drawn from data the Australian Bureau of Statistics collects. It doesn’t mean that every woman earns exactly 17.9% less than a man in the same job. It means the total of what men working in fulltime roles earn is 17.9% more than what women working in fulltime roles earn.
In certain industries it’s much bigger. In management, for example, men earn 45% more than their female managerial peers. At this point it’s worth asking a few questions. Is this just a spectacularly lucky coincidence for men? Are men just naturally wired to earn more? Or, are we just naturally wired to pay men more? Dig into the data and it’s obvious the latter is at play.