SING IT SISTERS…
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.
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