gender wage gap

Serena Williams is a Bad Ass...oh and by the way she is also a woman...GASP

Excuse my language in the title of this post but is there really any other way to describe Serena Williams? 

uh, no there isn't

Recently, after winning the Wimbledon semi-finals in July, Serena Williams was interviewed at a press conference. During which gender came into the dialog, as it often does. One question asked, if she felt it was fair for women to get paid the same as men, if the matches were shorter....So you earn less for being better?

uh, what? no.

I wish I could say it ended there, it didn't. Here is the question that many have been talking about ever since. One, because it was dumb, two because, well Serena schooled the reporter in the most polite and yes bad ass way ever.

REPORTER:

"There will be talk of you going down as one of the greatest female athletes of all time. What do you think when you hear something like that?"

Serena, never one to back away from the conversation of gender in sport responded quickly as if there wasn't even a question how she should respond which makes sense when you are the best of the best.

SERENA:

"I prefer the word 'one of the greatest athletes' of all time."

uh, yeah because you are a bad ass, Serena


Then, this week another reporter was talking to 2 time Olympic Gold Medalist, Andy Murray when a reporter, John Inverdale asked the following:

REPORTER:

"You're the first person ever to win two Olympic tennis gold medals. That's an extraordinary feat, isn't it?"

ANDY:

"Umm," Murray said. "Well."

He was indeed the first modern tennis player to successfully defend the singles title at the Olympics, he noted.

But "I think Venus and Serena have won about four [gold medals] each,"

uh, now I kinda heart Andy Murray

I am not quite sure why it seems so hard for people in the media to give female athletes credit for their successes. It isn't just Serena who experiences this either. 

Check out this headline that was tweeted out as an example of how we treat athletes different based on their gender.

Uh, I think they are missing the boat on the real story here

Uh, I think they are missing the boat on the real story here

I realize that not everybody sees this as an issue. When I brought the subject up around some friends and co-workers (outside of the sports industry) the response was less enthusiastic. Few people said anything negative but many questioned why it matters.

It matters because it isn't just the media attention or respect that is unbalanced. It is also the pay. While you may not directly care about how much one super star athlete gets paid vs. the next, it trickles down.

It is widely known that female athletes do not get paid at the same level of their male counterparts.

In almost every single sport women earn considerably less than their male counterparts. Women are supplementing this lack of equal pay with endorsement deals which is misleading when you just compare total salaries against their male counterparts, if you take endorsements the gap in pay is much larger.

so, why do people get paid what they do? Arguments for the gap include; overall fan base, game attendance, tv endorsement deals and in general the amount of money generated by the sport. That doesn't tell the whole story though, as many female sports haven't been given the same options and support in the way of promotion etc.

So why focus on sports, when we know that on average women as a whole make somewhere on average of 72 cents to every dollar a man makes in this country?

Exposure & Transparency

Plain and simple. The women fighting for equality at these higher dollar levels brings about exposure to the overall issue of a gender bias and the gender pay gap. This is an important part of the process for change.

In less exposed industries, like a call center for example, the worker is less likely to know for sure what her counterpart make vs. herself and even if they do find out many companies attempt to say that it is illegal or against the rules to discuss salary among your peers and people fear retribution for rocking the boat. Serena isn't worried about rocking the boat. Tennis doesn't want to lose her. Say what you will but what she has done to elevate the sport of tennis in viewership, endorsement and pure love of the game, has probably generated more revenue to the actual sport than any other athlete in recent memory.

It is easier to ignore the call center operator, but you aren't ignoring Serena Williams.

How can Serena Help Us?

In a world where there is still a long way to go regarding gender and the gender pay gap there are signs of progress.,.well kind of. For starters most women in today's world make more than women have ever made in the past. We make more than our mothers and our grandmothers. Slightly misleading since many of our mothers and grandmothers didn't actually work but it still is important to note. Women account for 80% of all buying decisions in this country. Important to note for a number of reasons:

we are more educated than ever - not just in general but with regards to our finances

We have the majority stake and say in family buying decision - as the caretakers for children, and family members, we are calling the shots in every day life. 

It's time we get the respect we deserve for that and if Serena, women like her and even awesome men like Andy Murray continue to point out the discrepancies and demand better it helps us all.

Further proof of Serena's bad-assness....this little girl here...

For more information on the gender pay gap in sports, check out the infographic below:

SOURCE:  http://sportsmanagement.adelphi.edu/resources/infographics/a-look-at-male-and-female-professional-athlete-salaries/

SOURCE: http://sportsmanagement.adelphi.edu/resources/infographics/a-look-at-male-and-female-professional-athlete-salaries/

gender equality, it just makes sense.

Women account for close to 80% of all purchases. This statistic is used a lot in the media. In full disclosure, I have used the statistic a number of times in presentations. There is nothing wrong with using the statistic as a matter of fact it is a very useful one in the business and marketing world. It is all the more powerful when you consider that this statistic has changed culture.

Lately it seems that the media is glorifying this statistic behind a stereotype. I have done presentations where people are shocked to learn this number and what it represents but I have also watched people learn this and heard them say things like "well, yeah...women love to shop". You may think this isn't a big deal, but it marginalizes the weight behind the numbers.



These stats don't seem to be talked about quite as much as the other one. They should be though. It is these numbers that actually tell a larger story, a story of how powerful women are, a story of how much women are needed. It's quite simple really.

Don't believe me? Think about this, women are the fastest growing consumer group in the world. That means something. It means the types of products and services that are sold are different than they once were. It means looking at the world from different perspectives. The problem however, is that with all of the growth in education, salary and work for women the spoils of those riches aren't quite growing at the same clip. Consider this...

So how is it that all of these hard working women who invest in their families and produce our food live in poverty? How is it that they only own 1% of the world's property?

It is a problem because not enough of us are speaking out. I know, you have enough to worry about right? We live in a world where hashtags like #feminismisawful and #womenagainstfeminism exist. As a woman this baffles me. How can anyone, especially women believe that fighting for equality is something awful to be against? Rather than give that negative perspective too much time I have some questions for you.

  • How much do you really know about women in our country and beyond?
  • Are we making noise about the topics that matter to us?
  • Do you talk about the gender wage gap?
  • Do you feel limited at work, school or home because you are a woman?
  • Have you ever been cat called on the street, been the target of inappropriate jokes in the office or blamed for something simply because you are a woman?

It's not all doom and gloom by the way. There are a ton of groups and organizations out there now working hard to educate and make a difference for women here in the U.S. and beyond. From advertising campaigns, non-profit's, social media groups, networking groups etc. there is a push towards giving women a seat at the table. Is your voice part of the movement?

Below is an example of a brand working to empower women and create dialogue and discourse. Unilever who has been involved in a number of positive campaigns lately released this new video called Empowering Women. Kudos to Unilever, check it out.

In reading this back, I realize it might be a little bit of a soap box but I am okay with that. At the end of the day, if nothing else happens from my blog, my speaking, my events or my coaching I hope that people will be inspired to get up on their own soap box an stand up for something positive. There's enough negativity out there for 10 lifetimes, why not add something different?

What do we do in our every day lives to speak and build up the women around us? Tell me in the comments below.

Let's start a movement for change.

to help I made this quick reference guide of some of the quotes you read here. It is a quick little thing to post on your instagram, facebook, even pinterest. The more people who know the real deal, the more chance we have at change...so share away.

9 things you should know about women and why they matter

SOURCES:

1.Cia.gov
2.En.Wikipedia.org
3.Worldonmeters.info
4.Unilver: Empowering Women - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O71k6-_59rQ
5.Academia and Education.” Women Moving Millions. (2012).
6.“More Working Women Than Men Have College Degrees.” U.S. Census Bureau (2011).
“Women in America: Indicators of Social and Econ“Academia and Education.” Women Moving Millions. (2012).
“More Working Women Than Men Have College Degrees.” U.S. Census Bureau (2011).
“Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being.” U.S. Department of Commerce and Economics and Statistics Administration (2011).
Parker, Kim and Eileen Patten. “A Gender Reversal on Career Aspirations.” Pew Research Social and Demographic Trends (2012).
Anderson, Doug. “Below the Topline Women’s Growing Economic Power.” Nielsen (2009).
Holt, Lester. “Men Falling Behind Women.” NBC News (2011).
“Degrees Conferred by Sex and Race.” National Center for Education Statistics (2012
1.omic Well-Being.” U.S. Department of Commerce and Economics and Statistics Administration (2011).
2.Parker, Kim and Eileen Patten. “A Gender Reversal on Career Aspirations.” Pew Research Social and Demographic Trends (2012).
3.Anderson, Doug. “Below the Topline Women’s Growing Economic Power.” Nielsen (2009).
4.Holt, Lester. “Men Falling Behind Women.” NBC News (2011).
5.“Degrees Conferred by Sex and Race.” National Center for Education Statistics (2012)