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The Pay Gap for Women Starts Early

The Pay Gap for Women Starts Early ... and With a Responsibility Gap Female managers are often told they just need to demand more pay; research shows they are undermined by being given smaller roles.

As I noted in an earlier post, to explain the gender pay gap, the conventional wisdom goes like this: it exists because women are no good at negotiating. If only women were better negotiators, they'd earn what men do. Problem solved. What does the research say? "If women appear worse in real-world scenarios, it can be chalked up to recruiters’ implicit biases." According to studies, "the problem is with the men that are interviewing the women, not the women themselves."

Another popular explanation of the gender pay gap is that women voluntarily take time away from work (to be mothers, to care for family, etc.). While that may be true, it turns out that the factors leading to wage disparity start much earlier. "Early on in careers, men’s and women’s jobs often take on different characteristics. We found that men, on average, are almost immediately given more people to supervise and lead larger teams, even when they are at the same level of the hierarchy as women ... which results in higher compensation ... But these small, subtle discriminatory acts that happen early in women’s careers have consequences that snowball over time." She earns less at the start because she's given a smaller team to manage. The salary gap grows from there. She never catches up. Read more from The Wall Street Journal.

Other interesting articles to consider.

Women in the Workplace 2021 "Among employees surveyed by McKinsey and Lean In, white men were most likely to say they planned to be back in the office most of the week, Black women the least." If you have decision-making authority over where and when the people at your work do their work -- and you are a white man -- you should consider what that statistic means. What is it about your life (and your experience at work) that makes it easy for you to be at work? What is it about the lives of Black women (and their experiences at work) that makes it more difficult for them? Is there a gap? If so, what can you do about closing it? Read more in Women in the Workplace 2021.

Lego to remove gender bias from its toys after findings of child survey Seventy-one percent of boys surveyed feared they would be made fun of if they played with what they described as “girls’ toys” – a fear shared by their parents. “'Parents are more worried that their sons will be teased than their daughters for playing with toys associated with the other gender.'” Might our undervaluing of things associated with girls and women start when we are children? Is the problem that what we learn to value when we are children and what we are taught to believe sticks with us throughout our lives? Of course, we can make a concerted effort to overcome those biases and stereotypes about the value of girls and women. We can interrupt them. We can put them away. For good. It pains me to think how I have perpetuated gender stereotypes through toys. But I know I did. I won't do that now. How about you? Read more in Lego to remove gender bias from its toys after findings of child survey.

Andrea J. Applegate is the founder and president of Applegate Talent Strategies, a boutique workforce & talent consulting practice dedicated to helping employers get the best from their employees while ensuring their people have the best experience at work.

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