The Power of Opening up the Conversation
What has been surprising about writing Wonder Women is the support Giles and I have had from unlikely sources – not just women in marketing. Living on my beautiful road are some formidable women from a range of different backgrounds and careers and they have become big supporters, ordering the book for themselves, as well as their friends, daughters, daughter-in-laws.
Maggie (one of the formidable women) posted an article through my door this week, written by Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist writing in the FT Magazine, entitled Some Hard Truths about the Gender Pay Gap. I’ve written about this recently, so I won’t harp on about it again – although read Tim’s article and my previous post if you need more shock treatment to get it!
What I found really interesting was Tim Harford’s surprise at the statistics (he referred to them as ‘staggering numbers), he declared,
“I hadn’t grasped quite how enormous the gap still is.”
I find that this is a very common response. So many of us think we have made progress, but the figures tell us that it’s very slow.
Also, his response as an economist was very interesting,
“While it’s natural to think of such huge disparities as a problem of fairness, it is also useful to think of them as a problem of efficiency.”
He went on to highlight what he meant by this using Japan as an example,
“If in Japan men as a whole earn four times more than women, what does that suggest about the waste of female talent?”
The waste of female talent has massive economic consequences. The London School of Economics is conducting a research study to quantify the problem of untapped talent across 100 countries. As we might expect, men are paid more than women on average, but in some countries the pay gap inverts,
“In a country where the barriers to paid work for women are high (Pakistan is given as an example), the few women who do have jobs at multinational companies are outstandingly good. These high flyers are promoted and paid more than the average man.”
He goes on to suggest that there are women outside the workforce who, if they did have paid jobs, would be well above average. If the barriers to their workforce participation could be lowered, they would raise the productivity of the companies that employed them – and this could be as much as by 32%.
Tim finishes the article by talking about another issue I’ve been harping on about for ages – the inequality between women and men in the home – I’m so glad others are now appreciating this! We need men to take on equal responsibility for the domestic and parenting roles in order for women to gain equality in the workplace. Women won’t break glass ceilings when their stuck to the sticky floor!
You can read Tim Harford’s article in full by following the link: