This week@work the BBC published the salaries of top earners, and the gender pay gap at the broadcaster became the latest global headline news on the topic. Turns out the folks who work in theater and aspire to the corporate C-suite are finding the same barriers. Maybe it’s time to review your work/life view ‘from the beach’.
Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality party in the UK shared her opinion ‘It’s not just the BBC that must come clean about underpaying women’.
“When the BBC published the salaries of its top earners, the results were not surprising, but they were shocking. They even managed, momentarily, to silence the gender pay gap myth-busters: the trolls who daily patrol social media challenging any mention of a pay gap with supposedly hard facts about the “choices” women make.
Here is the real hard fact: women are paid less because we are considered to be worth less. The gender pay gap is a symptom of the structural barriers that women face, which can be seen at every level of working life and across every industry. It thrives on the unconscious bias that goes unchallenged by the surplus of white men in decision-making roles, and is magnified by occupational segregation, unequal caring responsibilities and pervasive stereotypes that intersect with class, race, age, sexuality and disability.”
In an open letter to BBC director general Tony Hall, over 40 high profile presenters made a case for immediate action to remedy the inequality.
“The pay details released in the annual report showed what many of us have suspected for many years … that women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work.
Compared to many women and men, we are very well compensated and fortunate. However, this is an age of equality and the BBC is an organisation that prides itself on its values.
You have said that you will “sort” the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years. We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now.
Beyond the list, there are so many other areas including production, engineering and support services and global, regional and local media where a pay gap has languished for too long.
This is an opportunity for those of us with strong and loud voices to use them on behalf of all, and for an organisation that had to be pushed into transparency to do the right thing.”
Mr. Hall responded “…that the move to close the gender pay gap at the public broadcaster will be “accelerated” and that there would be a “marked difference” when salaries were published next year.”
The BBC story was not unique last week as Laura Collins-Hughes reported ‘When Women Won’t Accept Theatrical Manspreading’.
“In theater as in life, there is a lot of manspreading: Men get more jobs, more money, more prizes, more stories told about them onstage than women do. The numbers are grim nearly everywhere, but especially on Broadway, where an Actors’ Equity study released last month showed female and minority actors and stage managers at a gross disadvantage to white men.
A recent tally on HowlRound, a theater industry website, documented the staggering lead men have over women as designers, directors and artistic directors in American regional theaters. Men dominate every area but costume design, where women traditionally hold sway.”
The third story on women@work this week was Susan Chira’s exploration of ‘Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were’.
“More than 40 years after women began pouring into the workplace, only a handful have made it all the way to the top of corporate America. The percentage of chief executives of Fortune 500 companies who are women just passed 6 percent, creeping up (and occasionally dropping back) at a glacial pace.
The impact of gender is hard to pin down decisively. But after years of biting their tongues, believing their ranks would swell if they simply worked hard, many senior women in business are concluding that the barriers are more deeply rooted and persistent than they wanted to believe, according to interviews with nearly two dozen chief executives, would-be chief executives, headhunters, business school deans and human resources professionals.
What they say: Women are often seen as dependable, less often as visionary. Women tend to be less comfortable with self-promotion — and more likely to be criticized when they do grab the spotlight. Men remain threatened by assertive women. Most women are not socialized to be unapologetically competitive. Some women get discouraged and drop out along the way. And many are disproportionately penalized for stumbles.”
Which brings me to a constructive response from Art Markman, ‘Four Work-Life Questions to Ponder on Vacation This Summer’.
“It’s true that vacationing can hold some unexpected career benefits, in addition to letting you recharge your batteries and do some self-reflection about your working life, your personal life, and your overall goals. But musing on these big-ticket themes isn’t something many of us have a lot of practice doing. When you finally get a chance to do it, you might find your thoughts a little unfocused. That’s fine—mind-wandering is sort of the point here. But in case you need a little more structure, these are four questions to let your mind wander over.”
“Am I happy at work?”, “Where am I headed?”, “Who don’t I know?”, and “What’s Missing?”
This week@work consider your answers and once you have a sense of your ‘work identity’, use your voice@work to advocate on behalf of all and equality@work.
Photo credit: Cartoon – The Telegraph, MattCartoon July 20, 2017