The Gender Gap
Business and professional women are less successful – and continue to be paid less – than men for no reason other than gender.
Did you know that women make 77 cents to every dollar their male counterpart makes? Did you know that this number has been virtually unchanged for the past decade? Did you know that this trend can be seen all around the world?
But the real question is, what can we do about it? Forbes’ recently published article by Victoria Pynchon gives us some insight.
The article begins by telling every woman to ask for a raise because of the clear evidence that women make less than their male colleagues. It then digs deeper to discover why this is and to discuss the stereotypes and biases that still exist today.
What I found most interesting about this article was the example of the biases found in orchestra auditions. After women musicians arguing they were unfairly represented in top symphony orchestras, Harvard and Princeton professors organized a study in which auditions took place behind a screen. This allowed for the musicians to be chosen purely on talent, execution, and excellence. The results were difficult to ignore:
The use of a screen increased the chances of U.S. women in the first round of auditions by 50 percent, and in the final rounds by 300 percent, resulting over the course of 20 years in an increase of women in U.S. orchestras from five to 36 percent.
The biggest problem with stereotypes and biases is that they’re often unintentional. I’m sure the orchestra didn’t mean to discriminate and thus hire less women, however, it happened anyway. Stereotypes are deeply rooted in our society and are, therefore, hard to break. But I believe if we work together to stand up for our rights and demand equality and fairness, we can make a difference. I think the first step is awareness, which is why I’ve decided to do a series of posts about the gender gap in the professional world today and look at how experts say women should respond.
I’m currently reading the book, “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office“, which discusses the ways society has taught girls at a young age how they’re “suppose” to act and how these, now unconscious, behaviors and actions essentially prevent us from reaching our full potential.
Have you experienced evidence of the ‘gender gap’? How do you think we can take steps to minimize it?