We’re Still a Long Way Away
The Tampa Tiger Bay Club recently held a sponsored- event on pay equity which I attended. The Tampa Tiger Bay Club partnered with a number of local organizations to offer a panel to answer questions on the status of pay equity for women and men.
Working women in Tampa Bay pay attention.
My take is that we are still far away from our goal of equal pay for equal work. Tampa Bay Times’ Amy Hollyfield led off with a clarifying statistic: “It is correct to say that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, but it is incorrect to say that a woman makes 77 cents for doing the same job as a man.” She added that when you work through the statistics, the actual figure ranges from 82 cents an hour to 87 cents an hour for women in relation to men. Women chose traditionally lower paying positions like teaching and healthcare. As a result, the wages are lower in many female dominated occupations.
“Businesses, themselves, also have to play a very active role in the process,” stated Susan Leisner. Susan was the lead plaintiff in the first successful class action suit against a corporation for sex discrimination in the 1970’s. She recommends that companies self-audit every job and then level the pay. Susan advises to “summarize what everyone makes, then sort them by jobs and qualifications. It’s a place to start to see blatant disparities.”
Premier Eye Care’s Lorna Taylor stressed the importance of businesses supporting equal pay based on talent and experience. She cited encouraging statistics from her own organization: “We have a better organization with happier employees… It’s a dangerous mindset to think a company will be in a better position, financially, if it shortchanges employees.” She went on to add that the average turnover in Premier’s industry of information technology is 35 percent. “Our turnover is less than 1 percent.” We need more companies run like Premier Eye Care.
Women experience discrimination. Some is obvious like differences in pay for the same job. Other types of discrimination are more subtle like not valuing the views of someone because they are female. A male might state the same thing and be seen as direct. When a woman asserts her view, she may be seen as demanding or aggressive.
The Key Women’s Leadership Forum addresses discrimination and other issues as executive women come together to support each other’s goals and dreams. Our purpose is to bring together women in leadership roles and focus on the whole self – mind, body, spirit and career. By coming together and discussing leadership issues, opportunities and challenges as a group, participants feel supported by their peers and less isolated in the workplace.