Last night’s news carried a story on the status of women in the workplace today. The teaser promised to inform us on France’s relative progress on pay differentials, discrimination and harassment.
My 13 year old son piped up in disbelief, “That’s not true anymore…Maybe it used to be, but women are treated just the same as men now.”
I pause to think of an age-appropriate explanation of “the treatment of women” – on the history of women’s rights, the progress made and the confounding barriers that remain.
Trying to explore the meaning of equity and equality is actually a great way to put the issue in perspective. In the developed world, women are present in most fields (and have begun to outnumber men in higher education). Still, they lag behind in average pay – and what more concrete measure is there than compensation?
The latest data show that across the OECD, men’s median earnings are on average about 18% higher than women’s. In some countries the difference is as much as 30%. We may appear to be on equal footing – projecting an image of strength and success to our children – but the figures tell a different story…