Gender equality has been a hot topic for a long time, especially in business. And, despite laws designed to ensure equal pay for equal work between men and women, the pay gap persists and hiring practices continue to discriminate, especially among those high-flown posts that pay the most. According to the Office of National Statistics in the UK:
“Median gross annual earnings for full-time employees on adult rates who had been in the same job for at least 12 months were £26,500. For men, median gross annual earnings were £28,700 while the comparable figure for women was £23,100.”
That’s a disparity of £5,600 or almost 20%. Seen another way, women have to work an extra day a week to earn the same as men. Now the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has brought out a seminal report How Advancing Women’s Equality Can Add $12 trillion to Global Growth that estimates the real cost to us all of such disparity. A breakdown of the shortfall by global region is shown below:
Clearly the more developed regions have made more progress to date and have less left to gain. But, to put it in context, even Western Europe could gain more than size of the entire UK economy, were true gender equality to be fulfilled there.
So there is a massive argument to be deployed against those Good Ol’ Boys who have held sway in boardrooms and as captains of industry to look long and hard at this in wholly pragmatic business terms: women are as bright and capable as men; not rewarding them is costing you money. As the reports says:
“The first dimension is gender equality in work, which includes the ability of women to engage in paid work and to share unpaid work more equitably with men, to have the skills and opportunity to perform higher-productivity jobs, and to occupy leading positions in the economy. This dimension is driven by the choices men and women make about the lives they lead and the work they do.
“The next three dimensions—essential services and enablers of economic opportunity, legal protection and political voice, and physical security and autonomy—relate to fundamentals of social equality. They are necessary to ensure that women (and men) have the opportunity to build human capital—and have the resources and ability to live a life of their own making.
“Despite progress in many parts of the world, gaps in both gender equality in society and gender equality in work remain significant and multidimensional. Our analysis finds that 40 of the 95 countries analyzed have high or extremely high levels of inequality on half or more of the 15 indicators for which data were available.”
Time us men got to worrying our pretty little heads about this.