This is basically an FYI post: I doubt that I could write an article
on women and the pay/career issues conundrum without screwing up,
getting accused of chauvinism or making irrelevant statements. So let
me frame the issue with a bit of history, and then suggest a number of
articles on the subject.
First, I am husband of a professional woman, and father of three
daughters, all professionals. Although I grew up in a highly male,
though not especially macho family, I recognized when my daughters were
in grade school that women were getting the short end of the stick and
that I needed to help them make wise career/mate choices. (The
father/daughter stuff is very potent. My daughters more quickly tell me
I’m screwing up than my wife. On numerous occasions, and to my obvious
delight, they’ve told me to “buzz-off,” and rightly so. I’ve also
engaged in some of the most enjoyable conversations in life with my
daughters.) My wife, who’s in her seventies, has told me that growing
up, she had three choices of profession: teaching, nursing or
secretarial. After two summer stints as part-time assistant to the
senior executive for General Motors Overseas (Opel cars, etc.) he
offered her the position of his personal assistant, with a pool of a
dozen assistants, but she chose to become a teacher. (She’s a very
exceptional woman.) After our first was born, her father offered to
pay her way through law school, but she said no. (I learned much later
that she thought I’d have been too intimidated. Aaaargh! No comment.)
It was obvious that for me to feel secure about our daughters’ future
they needed to go to the best schools and get a graduate degree. (That
was more my agenda than my wife’s, although she certainly was
supportive.) All three daughters completed graduate school, and they’ve
been highly successful. My wife and I both have happy smiles about
that. We recognize that that was not possible for the majority of women
of that generation, but we were given three daughters and that was our
family objective. I should also say that over the years I’ve had the
good fortune to consult to numerous women. I’m not certain why, but a
number of my clients have been exceptionally capable females at the
executive level. I am certain I gained as much from them as I gave.
When the issue is women in the workplace, I should say that though I’ve
been blessed to meet a number of very enlightened males, I also know an
awful lot of dumb-ass ones from mid to executive levels from all the
generations. I count two sons-in-law among the enlightened.
Both men and women of the younger generations should be aware of the
current statistics (although some writers are pointing out that these
are not really the important issues).
- Pew research finds 26% of women out-earn their husbands.
- More women than men are starting American companies.
- Women earn 6 out of 10 bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
So, men and women of the younger generations, here are a set of
articles on highly relevant women/workplace issues.
Recognizing the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day,
Newsweek has a fascinating overview on the gender gap: Why the gender gap still has
Harvard blogs has a series of useful articles on women in the
workplace, some challenging the usual stuff: Why
the gender pay gap misses the point; What’s
in a (last) name? A bigger paycheck, maybe. Those two articles
refer to research from a number of articles, and also reframe much of
the gender/workplace issue.