Fixing Pay Gap and Promotion Deficiency: Walking the Talk on Diversity in the Post MeToo World!

As #MeToo Turns Nearly A Decade Old, Time For Corporate America to Walk the Talk on D&I

The viral #MeToo movement represented a “coming of age” for career women worldwide as they sought to highlight the pervasive sexual harassment and gender discrimination in workplaces the world over.

The very success of #MeToo as a “spontaneous” uprising is an indicator of how America Inc. and for that matter India Inc. as well have historically “swept under the carpet” issues related to harassment and discrimination of women.

That too at a time when they advertised their Diversity and Inclusivity (D&I) credentials and wore them like a badge to convey a progressive image.

Indeed, #MeToo shined a light on the dark corners of corporates worldwide and led to a reckoning about the “real” status of women in the workplace, despite heady propaganda about D&I.

In the present context, #MeToo is over a decade old and hence, it is time for yet another “conversation” about D&I, this time with the focus on “walking the talk” by America Inc. and India Inc. and not merely paying lip service to this initiative. We would be examining two aspects of D&I, if addressed, can lead to real “change”.

Fixing the Pay Gap and Resolving Disparity in Perks and Privileges between Men and Women

The first one is the Pay Gap between men and women in corporate America and India. It is a well known fact that women, even those in senior positions are often underpaid than their male counterparts, though corporates are trying to address this “gap”.

This becomes more pronounced as we move down the hierarchy with the entry level women being the worst hit.

Moreover, this is only in the formal corporate sector and there are Millions of Small and Medium Enterprises as well as other entities in the semi formal and informal economies where “pay gap” usually means women have to be content with half of what men earn for the same work.

This also manifests in Professional Sports, which as we have seen in Tennis often implies a “yawning” gap in the pay between men and women tennis players.

So, any real attempt to “walk the talk” on D&I should first focus on fixing the pay gap between men and women if there is a genuine desire to move beyond the #MeToo movement and institute “changes” in the workplace.

A good way to start would be to give women a blanket raise on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

A Level Playing Field Is a Must in Corporates If Women are to Progress as Much as Men

Next, even in organizations where women are paid on par with men, it is rare to find women in senior and executive positions.

Statistics reveal that women at these levels are less than a fifth of men who are in similar positions across America Inc.

The situation is worse in India Inc. where it is rare for women to move beyond the “glass ceiling” and progress further.

So, if there is an intention to address the D&I shortcomings, a clear case exists for promoting “deserving” women to senior positions.

Note that we have used the term in quotes deliberately as it is nobody’s case that all women should be promoted.

Rather, the idea here is that there should be a “level playing field” for men and women and whoever comes trumps in the race should be rewarded accordingly without discrimination.

More so when there is an overall sentiment that “tokenism” in the form of promoting a few women just to show how committed the organizations are to D&I cannot be the norm.

Instead, there has to be an honest and transparent attempt to give everyone, men and women, their due and not “hobble” them as they progress in their careers.

Walking the Talk on Diversity and Inclusivity and Actualizing Healthy and Safe Workplaces for All

So, there we are and if these two aspects are taken care of, then corporates can move on to the next and perhaps more important aspect of actualizing “truly” inclusive workplaces.

For this to happen, it is not enough to hire more women or stuff the organizations with as many women and other minorities are concerned.

Instead, the post #MeToo workplaces must end the “boys will be boys” culture and impose more responsibility on everyone to make the workplaces “safe” for women.

Indeed, with the #MeToo fading from public consciousness, it is time for America Inc. and India Inc. not to bury the issue and instead, walk the talk (literally and figuratively).

For this to happen, women in higher ranks should also step up their empathy and “connection” with women down the hierarchy and act as mentors and guides to navigate the minefield of the modern day workplaces.

Moreover, given the toxic nature of the political and social discourse, workplaces too are not immune from it and this is where the HR (Human Resources) staff has their work cut out as they strive to keep workplaces from turning “bitter” and “partisan” so that everyone benefits from working in healthy corporates.

Millennials, the Post #MeToo Generation Should Learn From the “Mistakes” of Previous Generations

Last, the Millennials are the post #MeToo generation and hopefully, they have learnt from the mistakes and the falls of earlier generation women and are not repeating them.

Already the Millennials are reporting high rates of burnout and stress with concomitant mental health issues and hence, the Boomers and the Gen Xers owe it to the former by not “burdening” them with additional traumatic workplace experiences.

So, it is high time for America Inc. to “walk the talk” on D&I and towards this end, fixing Pay and Promotion disparity would be a good beginning in assuaging the post #MeToo generations.

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The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to and the content page url.

Organizational Diversity