Why does supporting women even matter? These are my own professional and personal experiences.
The day I realized the gender pay gap was a real thing–
It sucked. My Pollyanna bubble burst.
I grew up thinking I was mostly in control of everything in my life, in collaboration of course with the greater being who I call Mother God. I grew up on a dairy, beef, sheep, hog, and crop farm; I milked cows at 4am before I went to school. I knew the joy of working hard. I put myself through college and paid off all of my student loans within 4 years.
So I suppose it was my belief in hard work, my eternal positivity, and my youthful naïveté that led me to ignore the noise around systemic barriers and social injustices.
For nearly two decades, I worked for companies that designed workforce solutions for Corporate America, primarily. About one decade into my career, a company sent me the numbers for all of their employee salaries for their entire US enterprise. As a good analyst, I analyzed it. Apples to apples, women were paid 84.78% to their male colleagues in similar job titles and salary bands. What was worse, as I looked at the disparity, it increased as women progressed up the ladder of the company. The pay gap widened over time. And it’s noteworthy because this was the perfect company to analyze; it was a Fortune 500, a pretty women-centric industry with an adequate sample size of female employees. In contrast to, for example, a smaller company in a male-dominated industry where outliers could skew the data significantly, this company should have done better.
Slowly, I opened my eyes and paid attention to what I saw instead of what I wanted to believe. Interestingly enough, as I was more open to seeing, I saw more, and more, and more…
Peace & Love,