Despite Legislation for Equality, the Big Picture Hasn’t Changed for Women in Professions or Business
In civilised countries around the world, equal pay has been enshrined in law for over 40 years. Yet even today women in professions are being paid roughly 75 cents for every dollar men receive, for the same work!
Over a lifetime of work, a woman can expect to lose about $455,000 due to unequal pay. That’s why women have less to set aside for their future, and why they struggle to build up solid asset bases. That’s also why women receive smaller superannuation payouts. Astoundingly, by the time a woman retires, her superannuation pension will be only about 50% of the average man’s!
Why it’s Not Just a Women’s Issue
This inequity in payment rates doesn’t just disadvantage women-it also disadvantages their children and their partners. When women are not paid what they are worth, their whole family suffers.
And in fact when women are generally undervalued in this way, we end up with a society that both subtly and overtly disadvantages and disables women to the extent that they are simply unable to contribute their rich potential to their families, companies, social groups, and the wider community.
In corporations where women are conspicuous by their general absence from boards and positions of senior management, those companies perform some 15% worse than companies that have even just 2 women on their boards. The proof of women’s worth is there for all to see, all the way to the bottom line.
The economic empowerment of women is a cause we should all be working for because it is the only way women will gain the space and the independence to widely contribute their expertise for the benefit of all.
Why is This Ridiculous Situation Still Happening?
The key factors in women’s failure to succeed in professions or business to the degree that men do have now been identified.
Often a patriarchal culture is blamed, and it’s true that biases and prejudices against women do play a part. These cultural biases can prevent us from noticing even the obvious, for example that full-time working women are still doing 400% more housework than their male partners.
However of far more importance and significance are two other factors which women can and should take control of:
- Women have not sufficiently realised the importance of mentoring as an aid to rapid and smooth success
- Having an experienced mentor has been identified as the single most significant predictor of success. However female mentors are not as obvious as male mentors, and it can be particularly difficult to locate a female high achiever simply because there are so few of them.
Before you start thinking of the difficulties this implies, consider that the “single mentor” pattern is a male pattern which is based on the “cult of the individual”.
Women are team-focussed rather than self-focussed and this is one of their greatest strengths, and one of the reasons their contributions have such exponential leverage.
The good news is that by peer-mentoring in groups, far more progress is made, more quickly. Certainly we’ve noted that whenever we’ve provided the environment for such mentoring the outcomes in terms of personal and professional development, and the doors that have so quickly and freely opened, have been outstanding.
Working with a mentor or mentors needn’t take a lot of time, and can even be done on-line so that you can participate no matter where you are, all in the convenience of your own time and at your own computer.
“Business networking” has been misunderstood and undervalued
This activity has been identified as the single most effective way of developing careers and businesses. 70% of business comes from referrals, and the great majority of referrals come from other business people whom we’ve spent enough time with for them to refer intelligently and in bulk!
However women, unlike men, wear multiple hats, and are responsible for multiple roles. These tremendous impositions on their time mean that women tend to neglect activities that are for their own direct benefit. Networking is either neglected altogether, or dropped as a first casualty of time pressures.
And “networking” can be a real trap. Many networking organisations charge a great deal of money for very little support.
In addition, not many people know how to network so it works – you’d be surprised by all the bad advice out there from so-called experts and even in books! You certainly must get involved in networking, but you must ensure you’re not wasting your time.
What You Can Do to Be More Successful, Much More Easily, Now!
The best advice I could possibly give you is to first get hold of a free ebook called “Speed Business Networking – The Manual – More Leads, More Fun, More Money” (just look under “Articles” on http://www.speedbusinessnetworking.com/ . )
Women who’ve read that book have frequently expressed how relieved they were to hear that all their instinctive dislike of old networking practices were for good reason!
Secondly, check out Speed Business Networking for yourself, and join a group that is not only committed to women’s success, but has the expertise to make it happen!
About the author: Christine Sutherland is the CEO of Speed Business Networking, and an internationally published author of several books including “Speed Business Networking – The Manual”, “How to Double Your Sales in 30 Days”, “Beat Cravings, Shift Fat!” and “NLP in 10 Days”. She may be contacted on 61 (08) 9246 1977.
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