Whenever 'My Grown-Up Christmas List' comes on the radio, I cannot help but pause to hear (and judge) the given singer's word choice, for there's one line that irks me beyond belief. You see, while many artists, such as Kelly Clarkson, prefer to sing the all encompassing "and everyone would have a friend," others opt for the exclusionary "and every man would have a friend." (I'm looking at you, Natalie Cole.) Perhaps I'm being nitpicky, as there's clearly no malice behind said phrasing, but when you consider how society still belittles and diminishes women, one cannot help but feel that twinge of inequality, even if it's only your basic Christmas tune.Women in the workforce are well aware of the gender inequality that persists, for most are subject to the omnipresent pay gap. As Christopher Cabrera, founder, president, and CEO of Xactly, notes, women emerged into the workforce during World War I and II, marking one of the biggest economic revolutions in history. Yet while, even then, women proved they could do the jobs traditionally employed by men, gender inequality in the workplace remained. From general prejudice, to lack of understanding of how valuable women can be in any conceivable job, society continues to underrate (and underpay) women no matter their expertise or performance.
Though times have certainly changed, the gender pay gap remains, silently hindering progress with every subsequent paycheck:
* According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women earn an average salary of $35,296 one year post-college, while men earn $42,918, stressing the fact that the pay gap forms early.
* Researchers at Zenger Folkman consultancy group discovered that, despite earning less, female leaders (55 percent) are typically more effective than their male counterparts (52 percent). Women excel at both sales (67 percent versus 63 percent) and general management (57 percent versus 53 percent).
* Xactly Insights reveals that, when measured by quota attainment, female sales representatives generally outperform men (70 percent versus 67 percent). However, said women usually receive lower commission rates than their male colleagues (4.1 percent versus 4.8 percent).
Sales, in particular, has become an evolving art form, Cabrera highlights. But, just as old-fashioned "shark" selling no longer works, neither does inequitable compensation. Buyers now seek partnerships with those who can really listen and understand their unique problems, while salespeople seek equal pay for equal work. "At a time when lack of engagement is costing U.S. businesses billions, and talent is often scarce, companies can no longer afford to alienate some of the strongest performers in their workforce by paying them inequitably," Cabrera adds. "Now is the time for CEOs and business leaders to take a stand and support a more equal and equitable workplace based on performance, not gender."
No matter the industry, nor the position, women must receive pay comparable to their male equivalents in the given role. Gender must no longer divide companies--or society, in general--for all those working under the same umbrella have the same goals and ambitions. Thus, we can't impede our collective future with silly, outdated ideals, for such notions will only guide us down the same stagnant path we've walked for decades.