Thursday, March 8, 2018

"Equal pay for women in the public service"/ "Engage men to bridge the gender gap"

Mar. 8, 2018: In honor of International Women's Day, I will put up a couple of job articles about feminism:

Nov. 8, 2017 "World's youngest female leader targets equal pay for women in the public service": Today I found this article by Matthew Brockett and Paul Allen in the Globe and Mail:

The first country to give women the vote has another world-leading ambition: closing the gender pay gap.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the world’s youngest female leader, says her government aims to achieve pay equity for women in the public service within four years as a catalyst for widespread change. More than 120 years after her nation granted universal suffrage, Ardern hopes it can again be a flag-bearer for equal rights.

“If New Zealand is seen as a champion of issues around gender pay gap and pay equity, I would be proud of that,” Ardern, 37, said in an interview Tuesday in Wellington. “I know, though, that we will only be seen as a world leader if we’re able to make inroads ourselves.”

New Zealand ranked ninth out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report for 2017, well ahead of neighboring Australia, which placed 35th. While its pay gap has dropped to 9.4 percent this year from 16.2 percent in 1998, according to Statistics New Zealand data, the Ministry for Women says progress on closing it has stalled in the last decade.

Ardern’s Labour government swept to power last month on a pledge to put a human face on capitalism by intervening to address social failures, including the treatment of women in the workplace. Sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein may have triggered a global discussion about the difficulties women face, but Ardern said the next step is to achieve real change.

“I think these global conversations are incredibly important, but they’re only precursors to what needs to follow, and that is a change in culture, a change in behavior,” she said. “There is a need for conversations with young people in particular around issues of consent, healthy relationships.”

Since giving women the vote in 1893, New Zealand has been something of a trailblazer in terms of equal rights. The country’s gender pay gap is half the U.K.’s 18 percent, Ardern is the country’s third female prime minister, and the Governor General and Chief Justice are also women. 

But there is only one female chief executive officer among the 50 companies on New Zealand’s benchmark stock index, and even though the nation ranks relatively highly on the World Economic Forum’s gender gap index, it has slipped from fifth place in 2009.

“We’re going backwards,” said National Council of Women President Vanisa Dhiru. “In New Zealand we like to think we’re pretty equal -- we were the first country to give women the vote after all -- but we’re not.”

The government needs to make it easier for people to make claims for equal pay through new legislation and additional resources, particularly for those at the lower end of female-dominated occupations, Dhiru said.

Ardern, who cites inequality as one of the reasons she entered politics, said she will lead “an active government” that “will intervene where there are failures.”

She said closing the gender pay gap among the 46,000 core public service workers will send a strong signal to the private sector to follow suit. 

“In 2017, we cannot continue to send a message to young women that they can expect to be paid 10 percent less simply for their gender,” Ardern said. “That is not a message that can continue.”

Nov. 10, 2017 "Engage men to bridge the gender gap": Today I found this article by Steven Murphy in the Globe and Mail:

Incoming president of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, currently dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University ‘Gender inequality is not a women’s issue, it’s society’s issue,” Tanya van Biesen, executive director of Catalyst Canada, told MBA students at the Ted Rogers School of Management last month.
I couldn’t agree more. The gender gap is everyone’s problem.

So far, progress has been slow at best. The World Economic Forum reports that of 142 countries, 68 increased their gender gap score over the past year while 74 countries went backward.

A wide range of grassroots and corporate organizations provide commendable programs and initiatives to help women advance in the workplace.

But engaging women alone is not enough. To make substantial progress, we need to engage men as well.

This is especially important because some men continue to resist diversity initiatives despite the mounting evidence that diversity is an economic imperative. A recent survey of nearly 900 directors reports that 16 per cent said that gender and racial diversity had no benefits at all, while 27 per cent said there was too much attention on gender diversity (of the latter, 97 per cent were men).

This is worrisome considering women hold only 21 per cent of S&P 500 board seats. In Canada, that number falls to 19 per cent.

HeForShe, an initiative launched by UN Women three years ago, is enlisting men to join the fight in bridging the gender gap. Engaging men – and women – at the top sets the tone and sends a strong message across the whole organization.

One organization that mobilized men to make diversity a priority is PwC, reportedly increasing the number of women on its global leadership team from 8 per cent to 47 per cent.

To understand why women were underrepresented at the firm, PwC took a data-driven approach. Even though women made up 50 per cent of graduate hires, they accounted for only 13 per cent of partners globally. When they dug into the numbers, they found that women departed at the same rate as men but were replaced by male hires, which contributed to creating predominantly male teams.

To secure buy-in at the top, the firm rolled out unconscious bias training for their global leadership team. In addition to having annual diversity plans at the local level, they created succession plans for key leadership roles throughout their global network with the guidance that a third of candidates should be diverse.

Educating leaders on implicit and explicit bias is key to cracking the diversity nut. As my colleague Imogen Coe, dean of Ryerson University’s Faculty of Science, told CBC, we need to be comfortable about facing our own implicit biases – we all have implicit biases owing to entrenched social conditioning.

That was recently demonstrated by a BBC social experiment. For example, when boys wore girls’ clothes, unknowing adults gave them dolls to play with – and when girls wore boys’ clothes, they were encouraged to ride bikes. Talking about implicit bias and how it creeps into everyday life is a crucial first step in changing the status quo.

We all have a part to play in closing the gender gap. Not only is the business case compelling, it’s also the right thing to do. Men, take the HeforShe pledge. Be a game changer at your organization.

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