Why We Need Men To Rally for Pay Equity and A Solution for Gender Bias

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde says men need to seek out strong women candidates for positions. If there is to be true equity in the workplace, men need to get on board the parity train. And they need to not just talk about a goal of pay equity in leadership, but walk the talk as a solution for gender bias. And do it every day of the year. Not just on Equal Pay Day April 12.[bctt tweet=“If there is to be true equity in the workplace, men need to get on board the parity train.”]That is a rallying cry of Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund managing director, who spoke last week at the Women in the World Summit in New York.According to Women In The World, Lagarde said: “I don’t think changes can be achieved on the stand-alone basis by one’s self only. So reach out. Form coalitions … And use, as much as possible, the research that is available to convince.”Well-known for her quips that some board rooms have too much testosterone, Lagarde says this is an everybody priority—for both men and women because more women leaders achieving equal pay is better for the global economy. WITW writes: “Managers are expected to seek out strong women candidates, especially for positions where men have traditionally ruled, such as economists and strategists. Today, thanks to her agitation, gender diversity is embraced as a priority in the research and advice the Fund offers to the world’s economies.”In a lengthy interview with Bloomberg editor John Micklethwait, Lagarde demonstrates an exquisite example of Power Tool # 2: Define your own terms before someone else defines you. She restructured the IMF with the framework she calls AIM. That means to be agile, integrated and member-focused.Doing something concrete to shine a spotlight on the facts of the gender pay gap is PayScale, Inc., announcing on Equal Pay Day its Gender Pay Comparison tool, an algorithm that instantly calculates salaries for position titles by gender. According to the company release, this is “a feature that allows organizations to easily spot inequities in pay.““Companies across every industry tell us they want to pay all their employees fairly. However, many don’t know how to determine whether a problem exists or they lack the time and resources required to conduct a manual review of their jobs, skills and salaries,“said Dave Smith, Chief Product Officer at PayScale.“Our goal was to simplify this process by offering a comprehensive, but easy-to-use solution that would provide immediate insights into the way a company pays men and women. With this functionality, employers can fix potential equity problems today and also prevent them from happening in the future.”“I firmly believe that companies which become transparent about gender pay issues will have a competitive advantage,” Smith added.Coming clean about the necessity for both men and women to work towards developing strong women leadership, equal pay and a solution to gender bias in corporations and all sectors is Matt Laszlo, chief customer officer at The Clorox Co. “Enabling and sustaining the development of women as leaders within organizations is done by creating a culture that champions that pursuit always. Without that cultural transformation, anything else that is done is an isolated tactic that, while in the right spirit, is unlikely to be sustainable.”With a corporate track record of women in leadership that is higher than the norm, Clorox has 48 percent global female nonproduction employees and 41 percent global female nonproduction managers. Thirty one percent of the executive committee members are female and 30 percent of the independent board members are female.“Creating and maintaining a culture of inclusion is a critical everyday step,” Laszlo says. “Nobody advances to a senior role overnight, so to enable more women to attain such roles, the workplace culture must consistently demonstrate to women that it is worth the wait — the opportunity is truly there.”Across the pond in France, Kering, the luxury, sport and lifestyle brand that includes Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Puma and more under its gorgeous umbrella,  will double that percentage of women on its board of directors, to 64 percent female, with three new appointments.According to Footwear News: “These appointments reflect Kering’s long-standing commitment to the place of women at all levels in the group,” the group said in a statement, noting that 58 percent of its employees and 51 percent of its managers are women.Kering states on its website: “Advancing gender equality is a priority for Kering. Women account for 60 percent of our employees, 80 percent  of our clients and 51 percent of the world’s population. They represent a powerful source of economic growth and social stability. Yet, around the world, women continue to suffer from inequality, injustice and indignity.“Appalled by the code of silence around this problem, Kering’s CEO, François-Henri Pinault, encouraged a group-wide focus on women’s rights and dignity. Our HR policy aims to make Kering the best place to work for women; our Kering Foundation combats violence against women; and our brands’ philanthropic activities are aligned to women’s causes. Through a variety of annual campaigns, we raise awareness for women’s issues and urge active involvement by employees and customers alike.”And while many in the U.S. and abroad are committed to finding a solution to gender bias in leadership, and the gender pay  gap, there still remain dismal numbers for women leaders,a paucity of robust women in leadership and the lack of equal pay for women.Writing in Huffington Post, Rebecca Shambaugh, founder of Women in Leadership and Learning writes: “It astounds me that even with so much transformation occurring in organizations over the past 10 years, we still have so few female executives and C-level leaders in Fortune 500 companies. While we want to spend more time on solutions than on continuing to discuss the problems, it’s notable that the number of women in executive suites and on boards of U.S. companies is not much higher today than it was a decade ago. When I consider these statistics and women’s under-representation in the senior leadership ranks, what really concerns me is the lack of balance in our leadership thinking, decision making, and problem solving.”Discussing the “tipping point” of the “30 percent solution,” as defined by author Linda Tarr-Whelan, she writes: “That additional 30 percent of women’s thinking and leadership style makes a big difference. We unfortunately are still far from reaching this tipping point. And as long as we don’t reach it, it means that organizations are still failing to use their full leadership capacity.The 9 Power Tools developed by Take The Lead co-founder and president Gloria Feldt outline a set of skills that can help women own their power and define a path to leadership and can be a real solution for gender bias in leadership and lead to equal pay.In a new report from Graduate Management Admission Council’s Research Services Department, authors Paula Bruggeman and Hillary Chan, there exists a gap in leadership between men and women, though the number of women in graduate programs is close to the number of men. It is after graduation and years down the line that men outpace women in salary and leadership positions.The authors write in “Tapping the Potential of Women to Transform Business”: “These same disparities in women’s earnings and their representation in the top ranks of corporate leadership show up in GMAC alumni survey findings when analyzed globally across most other program formats and graduation years. The same trend applies to Baby Boomer women—even though they’ve logged more years in the workforce than their Millennial sisters, their ranks in top management jobs are thinner than men. Make no mistake, women who earn MBA degrees have seen great financial rewards and upward professional mobility thanks to their graduate business degrees—but they still represent smaller shares of the executive and top corporate officer positions in their organizations.”According to the report: “With women closing the gaps in education and work experience, it seems this should lead to greater parity in wages; yet the gender pay gap persists. Why does it matter? It matters because over their lifetimes, women earn significantly less than men, which results in lower pensions (e.g., Social Security or other government-paid annuities based on lifetime earnings) and other savings, impacting their long-term financial health.”[bctt tweet=“Gender bias is still prevalent in many workplaces today.”]In a new white paper published by Robert Walters in Australia analyzing gender bias in the workplace in the Asia Pacific, “Empowering Women In The Workplace,” the authors write: “Gender bias is still prevalent in many workplaces today. Women who are more vocal and assertive may be seen as overbearing or ‘behaving like men’, while their nurturing, gentler counterparts are perceived as weak. Managers who empower their employees by focusing on their strengths will achieve greater results and help develop high-potential workers into leaders.”Many have likely heard that argument before.Offering stepping stones to empowerment, the paper suggests that 71 percent of companies mentor or sponsor women at senior management level. Personalized training programs are offered by 48 percent of those surveyed. Nearly half or 46 percent say they offer formal leadership training sponsored by employers. And 44 percent say a key driver to success includes networking opportunities within the business and the chance to meet and talk to senior management.[bctt tweet=“Cultivate an environment where women are encouraged to lead high-visibility projects.”]“Cultivate an environment where women are encouraged to lead high-visibility projects,” said Ravi Bhogaraju,  Head of Global HR Textiles & Head HR Asia at Archroma.In agreement would be Mark S. Casady, chairman of the board and CEO of LPL Financial, writing in Huffington Post: “There is only one way we will have more women in leadership positions in business: Male CEOs must step up to the plate and make it happen.“Casady adds, “With all the gains made by women, we as CEOs—and especially as male CEOs—need to find levers to aggressively take gender parity to the next level—for the good of our companies and our shareholders.”