SING IT SIS­TERS…

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

Gauri Ch­habra

ak­sha Band­han is a saga of love that eu­lo­gises the re­la­tion­ship of brother and sis­ter. Did I men­tion brother first and sis­ter af­ter­wards? Why? Let me in­tro­duce Reena and Rahul, two fic­tional grad­u­ates to you. They grad­u­ated from the same univer­sity, with the same de­gree. They work the same num­ber of hours in the same type of job. And yet, as they start their first jobs, Rahul is mak­ing Rs 4,000 more than Reena. In the sec­ond year, the dif­fer­ence has added up to al­most Rs 9,500. Why? ‘Sis­ters of the world, do you re­alise that the gap that starts from the first job widens and be­come more glar­ing when you en­ter the C – Suite.’

It’s been well- doc­u­mented that from the en­try-level gigs to man­age­ment roles, fe­male work­ers con­sis­tently un­der earn men. The cur­rent statis­tics show a gap of 23%. Of course, not all statis­tics are cre­ated equal. Some ac­count for ed­u­ca­tion and life choices like child­bear­ing; some don’t.

The rea­son­ing runs the gamut from poor ne­go­ti­at­ing skills to bla­tant misog­yny to the un­com­fort­able no­tion that women just don’t work as hard as men, what with all that baby hav­ing and par­ent-teacher- con­fer­ence-at­tend­ing go­ing on. But if you sift through the data, the re­al­ity is still clear: the gen­der gap per­sists — and it per­sists for young, am­bi­tious, child­less women, too.

It’s de­press­ing to watch the pay gap per­sist even in the high­est reaches of cor­po­rate power.

They look to a scarcity of women at the top, the dropout sto­ry­line, women’s dis­com­fort with salary ne­go­ti­a­tions; it’s your fault, ladies, and the no­tion that women con­sis­tently un­der­value them­selves eco­nom­i­cally — of­ten look­ing for op­por­tu­nity ad­vance­ments rather than fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion in mov­ing up the cor­po­rate lad­der.

But some­where in my con­tin­ued in­ter­est in the is­sues sur­round­ing the gen­der pay gap, I’ve grown tired of plac­ing the bur­den of blame so solidly on women.

That we must net­work more, ne­go­ti­ate more ag­gres­sively, find a spon­sor and a men­tor, while do­ing our jobs harder bet­ter and faster than our male col­leagues and— oh—lean­ing has be­come tire­some and in­ef­fec­tive. Women who ac­cept less than what men get for the same jobs are low­er­ing the bar for the women who come af­ter them.

I nor­mally do not bill for

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