Dunno about you but I have picked the wrong career.
Kids, if you want the dough, forget about becoming a fireman, a teacher or a newsreader. You want to become the boss of a publicly listed company.
To me, $4.27 million means nothing. It’s as many dollars as people in this country. It’s the amount we spend annually saving the kiwi. It’s enough to buy a small house in Auckland. When you tell me it’s also the biggest pay packet in the country, I can’t comprehend it.
The person earning that pay packet pockets $80,000 a week. Holy heck, that’s more money than some families earn in a year. Combined.
What’s more, the person earning that money is a guy. His name is David. David earns a little more than Theo. Theo earns a lot more than Mark, and the three of them are wealthier than Mark W, Alessandro, Peter and Simon.
See a pattern there? They’re all men. The entire list of our high-earning CEOs is made up of dudes.
There is just one lady representing the nation’s women. Norah Barlow. Given there’s just one of her, I did a little research. Wish I hadn’t. Norah quit last year. And that’s not the worst. Norah’s pay packet is … $464,539. There are no zeros missing. That is her pay packet. The only woman publicly earning some gold dough is earning about a 10th of the top-earning man’s take. Sigh.
Then comes the question why women earn less than men. Then the argument that women lose valuable years having babies. Then theories that women don’t take risks and pretend to be more skilled than they are to score a promotion as men do.
The best argument is one that wasn’t meant for this debate. It came out of the mouth of from one of the biggest nerds on the planet.
Tim Hunt is smart. He has a knighthood, a Nobel Prize in physiology and a casual PhD.
All that might’ve tricked Tim into thinking he should go ahead and say what he thinks. He told us the “trouble with girls” is that if you’re working in the same room as them there are three certain outcomes: the girls will want you real bad, you’ll want them real bad and then they’ll ruin everything by crying.
Tim is clearly drawing on his own experience as a god of love. I do not have the same randy colleagues. The crying bit, though, I understand.
It sounds traitorous to say this but, like Tim, I stereotype women. If my female colleagues are stressed I assume they are premenstrual. If they exchange words with another woman I put it down to bitchiness. If there’s a promotion on offer I instinctively offer it to the male contenders in my head.
And that, ultimately, is why women get paid less than men. It’s because we think men deserve it, with their power suits and deep authoritative voices. We’re all – us included – holding women back.
So I give up on complaining about gender pay gaps. It’s sad to say, but I don’t think women will be paid as much as men in the duration of my career. The best thing we women can do is foot it with the best of the boys and show we’re up to it so our girl children can have a better go.
Because, realistically, how can we close the gap when the guys earn 10 times more?