#TalkTuesday: Women in the Workplace

I was looking for a stock photo to accompany this post and I typed "success" and out came this picture...of a man...holding a Business newspaper. It was the only image on the site under that category. Interesting! It's the little things like these that frame a woman's mind from when she's little till when she's struggling to have her role noticed in the workplace. It is the little things like these that are the reason we are still having the Equal Pay debate till now.

Until we realize that women and men can do the same kick-ass work - so long as either party put their mind to it - we will be depriving our society of all the benefits equality on the work force can bring. But that was a digression, thanks to this picture.

men Photo by: Oluu Eletu

To get right to today's #TalkTuesday topic on the same issue, via a different angle, I present to you a few things I gathered.

In a 2010 TED Talk by Sheryl Sandberg (1), author of the famous Lean In, she recounted her experience at a talk where she ashamedly took extra questions from male members in her audience without noticing that the women who had their hands raised had dropped them. Her exact words were, ""Wow, if it's me -- who cares about this, obviously -- giving this talk -- and during this talk, I can't even notice that the men's hands are still raised, and the women's hands are still raised, how good are we as managers of our companies and our organizations at seeing that the men are reaching for opportunities more than women?" We've got to get women to sit at the table".

She went along to stress not work place or equality laws, but the very basic behavioral fix to this issue:

"How do we get women to sit at the table?"

-Sheryl Sandberg “Why we have too few women leaders” - TEDWomen 2010

P.s. I was really happy to see her No. 2 tip because it affirmed I wasn't going off the tangent by focusing on relationships in the past 2 weeks of our Women's Isssues-centered discussions. Because truly, it is when a woman knows her worth and how to relate with the man at home that she can defend her honor in the work place or anywhere outside the home.

Her 3 Tips were:

  1. Sit at the table
  2. Make your partner a real partner
  3. Don’t leave before you leave

Equal Pay?

I am convinced that paying women less than men for the same work is an intentional act to subdue a woman’s power, in order to foster more dependency on men. Why else would it be that even with the Equal Pay Act (2), women are earning significantly less than men and not only is this a men vs. women thing, but it is a white vs. black vs. hispanic vs. asian thing. The numbers game here is pretty interesting, with Asians making the most bank when compared to their other female counterparts. I won’t go into the full race breakdown here are that will start another conversation than intended.

So for how long will our society run on stereotypical measures of “ability”? Are we really blinded to the huge potential that lies with boosting the drives of women in workplaces and closing the income gap between men and women?

For those men who think this argument is not valid, but were raised by single mothers, think of how many more Jordans you would have owned had your mother earned the same pay as a man in her position.

Let’s talk. Again, I'm echoing Sheryl Sandberg's question: "How do we get more women to sit at the table?"

Resources:

  1. Sheryl Sandberg TED Talk 
  2. Equal Pay
  3. Data sheet over time
  4. Resources for women in the U.S workforce
  5. Occupational Handbook
  6. Latest data

This concludes our discussion series centered around Women's Issues, in honor of March being Women's History Month. Thanks to all who participated.

-Memkoh