How do we fix the CEO gender pay gap? Watch the tough business debate on how women at the top get paid less
What can we do about the gap that starts right at the top? Ruth Sunderland and Alex Brummer discuss this issue.
At every level in our jobs, from the top of the corporate ladder to the bottom, women are paid less than men, writes Ruth Sunderland.
Jane Fraser, the British-born chairman of Citibank who is known as the First Lady of Wall Street, has made the news after receiving a 9 per cent pay rise last year to more than £20m.
A great distance by any estimation – but still less than its male counterparts.
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomons netted £21m. James Gorman, chairman of Morgan Stanley, got £26m. Brian Moynihan of Bank of America made £25m and Jamie Dimon, the long-serving chief at JPMorgan Chase, £29m.
Very few people would have much, if any, sympathy for a woman who earned £20m a year. (I’ve seriously avoided the word “earned” here, because it’s hard to imagine anyone actually earning rewards on such a massive scale.)
However, if the shareholders are going to pay men absurd sums to run banks, they should do the same for women.
It would be more reasonable, of course, if salaries and bonuses for all races were reduced to more reasonable levels, but this will never happen.
The same applies to sports, where women earn less than men.
The victorious Lionesses are in a much lower status than the male soccer players. The average wage in the Women’s Premier League is £50,000 – and that’s a year, not a week – which will hardly keep the men in Ferraris.
Financially, it makes more sense to be a women’s player than it is to be a world class athlete in her own right, which is very frustrating.
All of this is fairly rare but affects the average women, who typically earn about 15 percent less per year than men.
This equates to working for nothing for about two months each year. And the injustice does not end even at retirement, because a lower wage means a lower pension.
The explanations are familiar.
Women are held back from work by the responsibilities of caring for children and other relatives. Childcare is expensive and sometimes unreliable. Female employees are less confident. There is a wealth of anecdotal evidence that we underestimate our abilities and don’t push ourselves forward for promotions.
There is another explanation: antediluvian attitudes.
Although overt sexism is now less common, most women can report incidents of unconscious discrimination at work.
There was a recent thread on Mumsnet full of angry female CEOs talking about how they’ve been wronged by the PA, sent to run errands for men and similar insults.
Many women may not realize that they are paid much less than their male counterparts or even the men who report.
More transparency is needed.
When the BBC announced bonuses for its top stars, the disparities were shocking.
But women do not know whether they are being paid fairly compared to men, whether in the same company or in others in their industry.
We should have the right to see anonymous data about wages at our level in the company hierarchy, so we can know if we are being deceived about our worth.
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