You have have seen the media furor over Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s (subsequently retracted) comments at a women’s conference this week. The attention he received for his advice that women not ask for raises is at least probably partially because equal pay is the number one issue Americans believe that working women face. In this Gallup poll conducted a few weeks ago, these were the top 5 issues that Americans, overall, believed were an issue for working women:
- Equal pay / Fair pay
- Equal opportunity for promotion, advancement / no gender discrimination
- Jobs, unemployment, availability of jobs
- Sexual harassment, better treatment/more respect in the workplace
- Access to childcare / better childcare
The question was posed as an open-ended one so the fact that the answers clustered was due to users having independently provided similar responses.
Interestingly, working women answered quite similarly to men and women who didn’t work outside the home. Working women themselves agreed that equal/fair pay and equal opportunity for promotion/advancement were their top 2 issues. However, they believed childcare, work/home balance, and sexual harassment were the next 3 most important ones.
Equal pay is something we’ve written about before, but how to really define the issue — much less fix it — is one of the reasons I believe it remains a persistent issue. We hope that if enough women report their pay at Fairygodboss, we may perceive differences against larger compensation studies and discover companies where pay may seem to be unfair. Even if not incontrovertible, there may be a consensus of opinion that will be hard for employees and a company to ignore. Similarly, unequal opportunity for promotion/advancement is something that’s virtually impossible to prove in most cases. This makes the opinions of women who’ve been there and lived through relevant situations important to listen to.