Recently, the Financial Review published an article about the ever so controversial gender pay gap debate. The article threw shade all over the current statistics with research from the US claiming it’s a lot less. Apparently we haven’t being doing it right. In fact, they reckon the gap is a farce and the WGEA has it all wrong (I mean, dayum). Like bums, everyone has an opinion on this and depending on what side of the fence you sit on will dictate whether or not you’ll want to hear more from me after this post!
RELATED: “Life has a cruel, yet wonderful way of bringing your priorities into stark focus. For me, it was more than just my career, more than my savings account or family, it was…well, everything. I was an impostor, and for that I’m here to say sorry.” Read Bryanna’s story on how she took it all for granted, before it was all taken away.
As a female born with a silver spoon and a stay-at-home mum who played tennis twice a week, it was a surprise that I turned out fiercely independent. Perhaps it’s my personality and not so much my upbringing. I believe my mum calls it ‘stubbornness’. Regardless of all of this, I still fought my little hiney off to get through my undergrad degree and eventually land myself in the corporate world and begin the daily grind of climbing my way to the elusive glass ceiling. Literally like pushing sh*t uphill.
For some people looking from the outside in, they may think, “Hey Bree, pretty sure you’ve had an easy ride in our ‘chick’ industry. Suggest you keep those opinions of yours to yourself.” But even starting in an industry that is 90% women, the board of my last organisation was 100% men. 100%. The CEO was a male, the CFO was a male, the investors were all men and even the Director of my department was a male. So why is it that in an industry which is so heavily dominated by women, the C-suite is still very much held by testosterone-laden suits? At this point I started burning my bra because society told me as a female, I would forever be hard done by. I had started the whoah-is-me mantra and looking back, it was dumb.
So after the burning of bras ceremony, I asked the CFO straight out. On a company-wide meeting. His response got me thinking, “the board is made up of the CFO, the CEO and the investors of which we have no control or choice. If I dropped dead tomorrow, Kate*, the financial controller, would be on the board because she is my 2IC. There isn’t a gender preference. Like any role in the company, we pick the best person for the role. If you think there are gender preferences, you could also argue that we choose women over men for your role given that 90% of them are women. Could you not?” Mic drop. I was owned. And to be perfectly honest, sounded like an entitled Gen Y female that was whinging about the fact I had different chromosomes.
If that was the case, what if I completely flipped this on its head? What if the constant barrage of literature that says women are worth less in the work place because men rule the world like bloody gorillas, is simply perpetuating a self-fulfilling prophecy? Psychology tells us that if you tell a girl enough times she is worth less, she will eventually start to believe it and project this in her personality.
Instead of promoting online whingers who complain about what they don’t have and how hard they have it, why don’t we promote women to take life and work by the balls (figuratively)? Let’s encourage women to change the status quo through their actions and performance. If we need the best people for the jobs, be the best person. Don’t be a token female who is in a role simply to satisfy the whingers. If we need more women in the C-Suite, put your hand up, give yourself stretch goals, do something you never thought you could do and for goodness sake, put yourself out there! If we need to close the pay gap, renegotiate your salary, do the research and have confidence. (Disclaimer: don’t be rude, be professional yet firm).
Sheryl Sandberg is not only the COO of Facebook, but in my eyes is pretty kick ass. It was because of this woman that I pushed for my promotion, I had difficult conversations at work and gave myself a go. Regardless of what the statistics show, my opinion is that 95% of your situation is controlled by you and your lady bits. Stop whinging and actually do something to change your position. Who cares whether men have it easier, stop wasting breath and energy complaining about what they have and focus your attention on your development. Life is hard. For everyone. What you put in, is what you get out.
Fearless Female Traders