by Lynette Silva
Recognize This! – A day doesn’t accomplish much. But a movement can. Be inspired this International Women’s Day.
It’s International Women’s Day. That immediately raises three questions.
- Why do women get a day and men don’t? (Men do – it’s in November.)
- What will a day accomplish? (A single day won’t accomplish much. But the attention that a single day can bring to an important discussion can accomplish quite a lot over time.)
- Why is this even important?
That last question takes a bit more time to answer. I think this video answers it best. Out of the mouths of babes, the video shows a Norwegian child social experiment and the gender pay gap. I couldn’t include the video directly here, so take 2 minutes and click through. It’s well worth it.
For those who prefer a quick summary, children paired up in boy/girl teams are asked to complete a simple task together. They then receive their reward. As you can see in the bottom right in the image above, the rewards are very unfair and skewed in the boys’ favor.
The children’s reactions are priceless. The girls are shocked when told the reason for the disparity, for the girls receiving far less, is precisely because they are girls. Equally telling, the boys are visibly uncomfortable, confused, and horrified.
When questioned about how they feel about the experiment, two of my favorite comments are:
- “She was just as good as me, so we should get the same reward.”
- “It’s just wrong. Girls aren’t worth less than boys.”
When did we lose sight of this basic truth? When did we become inured to the reality (and real, life-changing impacts) of pay inequality? Why do we continue to accept the excuse that, though a woman may have left the job market for a period of time to birth or raise children, upon return to work, it’s OK to pay her less for the same work as a man in the same role?
As the statement at the end of the video clip says:
“Unequal pay is unacceptable in the eyes of children. Why should we accept this as adults? Women working in the financial sector earn on average 20 percent less than men.”
Of course, there are many more aspects to be considered on International Women’s Day including #MeToo, opportunity, safety, and much more. Join us at WorkHuman April 2-5 in Austin, Texas, where we will dive much more deeply into these topics as well as others that make work more human.