Esther-Gail Fraser, an intern from the CorpCare team, spoke to Dr. Margo Thomas, CEO and President of Women Economic Imperative (WEI) and former Chief of Secretariat for the United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, for International Equal Pay Day to showcase the importance of equal pay in the context of human rights, development and of course corporate social responsibility.
“When we do not have equity between men and women we all suffer, there is a tax placed on this generation and the generations to come.”
- Dr. Margo Thomas Phd.
CEO and President
Women’s Economic Imperative
Here are Dr. Thomas’ top 5 recommended steps organisations can take to ensure equal pay is prioritised and encouraged both internally and externally.
“We need to focus on the norms of women and the perception of women. It is reflected in the culture, in the laws, the government and as a result, it conditions the mind of girls.”
- Dr. Margo Thomas.
In order to close the gap, we must first be intentional about recognizing the value of every person, regardless of gender. The gender wage gap is a form of systematic discrimination of women, and if we don’t address it, every one of us is adversely affected.
It’s estimated that the global GDP hemorrhages anywhere between 2 and 3 trillion US dollars per annum because of the gender pay gap.
The Gender 3000 report from the Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI) shared that cash flow returns on investment were found to be 2% higher over time for companies with a higher proportion of female senior managers, with shares of more diverse firms also exhibiting less volatility. Additionally, shares of companies with more than 20% female management had outperformed those with less than 15% female management by 5% so far this year.
“It is important to ensure workplace security, laws and regulations are put in place around workplace harassment”
- Dr. Margo Thomas
Professor Tyson, of the University of California, recommends that “human-resource practices should take account of unconscious biases, risks and stereotyping, and documented differences in behaviour. For example, research finds that women tend to be less confident and less likely to negotiate for pay raises and promotions than equally qualified men.” (WEF)
Progress is dependent upon our ability to recognise injustice. The safety and equal treatment of women within companies must be prioritized.
COVID-19 has sped up this process, but flexible working arrangements are important. Flexible work hours allow women to perform at work, as well as, be as present as they choose at home.
It’s important to note here that for decades women have been the victim of gender norms which place significantly more pressure on women than on men in performing household duties, caregiving and performing what’s known as the “second shift” (taking care of children, loved ones, etc.). Companies must prioritize flexible working for all staff members to break down these normative behaviours and make way for new and inclusive ones. A strong CSR strategy calls for parity at all levels of the organisation, including maternal and paternal leave for example.
Dr. Thomas says that greater transparency is foundational for employers, workers’ unions and the government, to keep organisations and businesses accountable to decreasing the wage gap.
PayScale found that when companies are open and honest about the salaries they give all employees, the wage gap in most industries and at all job levels disappears. When looking specifically at industries, PayScale found that women in most fields made equal, and sometimes even more than men, when organizations were open and honest about salary. However, a few male-dominated industries like construction, food preparation, and maintenance and repair still fell shy of pay equity by four cents or less, even with transparent pay practices.
Doing this internal work will help to determine whether your firm is making progress in decreasing the gender pay gap and demonstrate, to what extent. It can also help to keep the company on top of any job discrepancies. (CorpCare can help with this.)
Introducing a job evaluation methodology to adjust job titles, and corresponding pay overtime will also assist with the unconscious biases that often exist in the hiring and employee retention process.
“We need to recalibrate our starting points, recognising that all humans have value, and not to discriminate because of gender, it is our duty to recognize the value of every person”
- Dr. Margo Thomas.
After sitting down with Dr. Margo Thomas, it is evident that the need for equal pay is more urgent than ever. The Gender Wage Gap and the need for equal pay is not just a women’s issue, it's everyone's issue. We must make it a priority to treat all humans equally. CorpCare is dedicated to this work and helps firms locally and regionally make better decisions in regards to their corporate social responsibility.
Thank you for reading about the international gender pay gap. Contact our team so we can have a conversation on how you can better serve your business and community.
Visit our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how your organisation can do better, by doing good.