Hila Harary
Hila Harary
Zeitgeist at your service

The factor that launched men’s careers forward and left women behind is shifting

Clementine, Sir Winston’s wife, was talking to a street sweeper for a while. “What did you talk about for so long?” asked Sir Winston. She smiled, “Many years ago he was madly in love with me.”

Churchill smiled ironically, “So you could have been the wife of a street sweeper today. ”
′′Oh no, my love “, Clementine replied, “If I had married him, he would have been the prime minister today.

*image source – British Nostalgia FB group

“For the courageous among us, what is your profession and how much do you earn?”

This is a post that appeared on Facebook a few days ago in a female-finance group that caused a great deal of controversy. There were thousands of responses ranging from women who “dared” to reveal their salary data and employment terms and those who asked questions about their studies and career paths.

Dr. Maya Tevet Dayan, a poet and publicist, wrote an excellent post following that about women, money, and wages, and here is the essence of it:
(full version of the post on Facebook in Hebrew)

There is everything in this post. Educated women with two or three degrees earning 6,000 NIS a month and uneducated earning 35,000 NIS, rich emotional therapists and architects and lawyers with salaries at the bottom of the scale, women who in mid-life changed jobs and changed income from end to end, women who chose to focus on home and family and give up high income. Women who give advice to others, women who are jealous of others, women who are proud of themselves, and women who get mad at themselves ….

But I read them all and see only one thing: how much the female thought of money is a “poor” thought. It is poor among those who aim low, to begin with, prefer not to demand a decent wage and accept work in places that discriminate against her and it is also poor among super financially successful women, who declare that they are “ashamed” to tell in numbers how much they earn ….

We can understand them. In a world where women are used to earning little, being a second salary, demanding a low salary to start with, and almost never asking for a raise – it is really unpleasant to stand out among your friends with a bombastic income ….

Our thought is “poor” because we grew up on the knees of generations of women who taught us that being married means being “settled.” And the meaning behind that laundered word is just economic. There’s a man who takes care of you. You can go earn pennies, have fun with whatever you do there – teacher? Social Worker? An emotional therapist? Have fun sweetheart ….

And in the end, our thought is “poor” because nowhere is “motherhood work” enough yet spoken of. Not about “motherhood.” But about the “work of motherhood.” Full-time work that is never rewarded with salary and additional terms and conditions. And no, the fact that your children grow up in a stable home and eat cooked food every day, is not a reward for work. This is the reward for your children. And the fact that you have housing, a car and food is not a reward for work. These are the terms of employment that every au pair gets. Before she gets paid ….

There are numbers for this: we know that in Israel for every child a woman gives birth to, her wage will drop by 7-9 percent. And rightly so. What shall you do when you hold two jobs, and the first job, the mothers’ job, steals from the second job, the one on which you also make a living? …

In men, by the way, every child raises the salary. Because a man will usually not lose work hours because of a sick child at home, and every child is another mouth that the man must feed and support.
In the language of economists, this is called the “fatherhood bonus” …

Motherhood work is transparent work. The many skills it requires are transparent and not rewarded in salary and are not considered in the resume – which is also based to this day on masculine wording in a masculine job market.

You are an educator, driver, cook, speech therapist, emotional therapist, tutor, nurse, cleaner, event operator, producer. But since it’s part of motherhood work all this doesn’t count…

When you are a woman serving as a mother, you need to understand that every Shekel your spouse earns is earned thanks to your motherly work. Otherwise, he would now be with your children at home and would not have climbed the wage ladder. And so there is no such thing as “his” salary. “His” hourly rate. And you should not be grateful that you are “settled.” The opposite. Thanks to you, this whole arrangement came to realization…

I cringe when I hear women tell other women to “work harder,” “learn more,” “a little more effort and you’re there.” No, sisters. Most of us are already working very hard. Most of us are trapped in an economy that gives women a 64 percent chance of men, to begin with. Our effort should be in one direction only:

To a radical sisterhood of women, to sharing, to the mutual liberation of the old story, of the “poor” grateful, saturated with fear female thought, And to the story of a new story.

In September was Equal Pay Day, and in light of the revealing post, in many WhatsApp groups the following reminder was shared:
Did you know that today men have finished earning a salary that women in a similar position will take to earn by the end of the year?
That’s why we mark “Equal Pay Day”
In the Israeli reality, for every shekel a man earns – a woman earns 68 cents.
That means from today until the end of the year women work for free!

What is amazing is that we are in 2021. In 1996, an equal pay law was enacted for male and female workers designed to promote equality and prevent discrimination. The law stipulates that a female and male employee of the same employer is entitled to equal pay for equal work, essentially equal work, and equivalent work (from the “Every Right” website).

Since most employers are very comfortable with turning a blind eye to this law, and it is also very difficult to enforce it in its current form, last May the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued an obligation for employers to publish information on the pay gap between men and women. The obligation applies to those who employ more than 518 employees and they are required to produce annual reports detailing the wage gaps in their workplace. The first report will be published no later than 1.6.22, and the organization should create an internal report for employees according to which each employee will receive a report detailing the average wages of the employees by segmentation by types of employees, types of jobs, or types of rankings. In this report, the employer will detail the average wage gaps between men and women in percentages in each group of workers in the workplace. The second report is external to the public and will be based on the internal report.
I sincerely hope that this step towards more transparency will accelerate the reduction and even would close the gaps.

And what is happening in the world?

Professor of Economics and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz says that “What we measure affects what we do, and if we measure the wrong thing, we will do the wrong thing. If we focus only on material wellbeing – on, say, the production of goods, rather than on health, education, and the environment – we become distorted in the same way that these measures are distorted; we become more materialistic.”

Prof. Stiglitz, together with a group of other researchers, published a very comprehensive report on the subject “Beyond GDP: Measuring What Counts for Economic and Social Performance.”

In July 2018, an OECD report was published titled: Including unpaid household activities: An estimate of its impact on macro-economic. The report, which was based, among other things, on the work of Stiglitz & Co., included interesting statistics and graphs such as the one below that shows the percentage of time people in several Western countries spend on paid work VS unpaid work, split to genders. If we look at the left column, for example, we can see that men in Canada spend twice as much of their time at work compared to household chores, while women spend about an equal percentage of their time at work and household chores (in favor of the household chores of course).

Part of the conclusions written there: More generally, better monitoring and valuing unpaid household activities provides a better insight on the importance of the provision of these unpaid services for the functioning of the economy at large. Without the support provided at home, the functioning of the formal labor market would dramatically decline in efficiency, thus potentially having severe impacts on economic growth, and on well-being more generally.

What is interesting is that when you look at the housework done by the family members, it is difficult to quantify them and associate it to the GDP, but when you outsource them, they have a very clear price tag. Everyone knows how much they pay for cleaning, gardening, babysitting, cooking, caring for a sick person/nursing the elderly, etc.
(The only question that is really hard to answer is for whom some of these jobs are considered cumbersome chores and for whom pleasure and leisure, since there are those who enjoy cooking, gardening, childcare, etc.).

The one who did not wait for these new measurements, recommendations, and future regulation, has led a change in recent years and set a personal example is the CEO of the American software company Salesforce, Marc Benioff. In 2015 he was approached by two female employees and was told about the gender pay gap in the company. At first, he refused to believe but said he was willing to look into the matter and take measures if he found that this was indeed the case. After audits were conducted at the company and it became clear that there was a gap, it was reported that the company had invested more than ten million dollars to close the gap, and now the CEO impose liability on the executives of other companies for closing the gap in their organizations as well. It can also be speculated that the move miraculously boosted Salesforce’s employer branding and contributed to the popularity of recruiting employees for the company, especially women. When other high-tech companies report a shortage of workers and fight for any talent, it sure can help them (I did not find any support for the speculation. Because closing the gender pay gap is still outside the GDP measurements, so why should there be statistics indicating a correlation between this and an increase in the number of candidates applying for a job at the company?!).

June 2020 – Thousands of female protesters in Geneva and other cities in the country shouted together for a minute at 15:24 – the minute on which women actually start working without pay, according to the current wage gap.

In February 2021, a legal precedent was set in the Divorce Court in China. This is the first time a monetary value has been set for housework when the court ruled $ 7700 in compensation for a woman for five years of housework.

July 2021 – French President Emmanuel Macron extends maternity leave for fathers to 28 days to allow new fathers to be more involved in raising their children and reduce inequality between men and women. (While France has enshrined the extension of maternity leave for fathers in law, our Civil Service Commission promotes equality and work-life balance through a campaign that encourages fathers to be home by four).

The direction is clear. If you are in the management of the company you work for, learn from the CEO of Salesforce and close the gender gap in your company (which according to estimations will take another hundred years to be closed at the current rate), If you are from the government sector, it is very worthwhile to expand the reading on Prof. Stiglitz and his research and redefine what GDP is for us and where future measurements should lead us as a society, and for the general public – it is time to call on Social Equality Minister to enforce the existing law for equal pay.

About the Author
Hila is a trendologist (future forecaster) @ Tectonic Shift & a social entrepreneur. In parallel to building her own venture, she's helping b2b companies, governments, and organizations with their biz dev and creative marketing strategies, using trends and content, and has a great specialization on the German market.