This second entry in our A-Z series is dedicated to all the Market Research Babes out there. It is a sorry state of affairs that we do still very much live in a man’s world. What ever happened to women’s equality? This question brings me to this week’s discussion: women in research.
Considering research has always been dominated by women it may come as a surprise to many that this is even an issue. But with the likes of WIRe, a networking group established in 2007 by Kristin Luck to empower women, it is clear that it really is an on-going issue in the Market Research industry.
It is believed that just 16% of CEOs are women, with the top levels of management still very much dominated by men. Ridiculous in an industry that attracts so many women.
In a recent Yahoo finance report it has been suggested that companies with women on their boards performed better in challenging markets than those with all-male boards. The report further suggests that by mixing genders at the most senior levels, risky investments may be strengthened and subsequently see an increased return on equity. According to the Credit Suisse study; “net income growth for companies with women on their boards has averaged 14 percent over the past six years, compared with 10 percent for those with no female director”.
It would seem that, fundamentally, the bottom line is that having women involved in decision making makes good business sense. With such an extensive study behind it, the nay sayers certainly find it difficult to argue with the figures. Women belong in the board room; and thankfully due to the likes of WIRe, this is happening, (albeit slowly).
But this isn’t the end of the problem, once women make it to the ‘top’, there is still the massive issue of wage discrepancies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women working full time earned 81% of what full time working men earned (in 2010, the most recent data available). This makes for a huge 19% pay discrepancy. Whilst at face value this figure is alarming, it is important to recognise that other factors play a part in this discrepancy; it doesn’t just come down to gender discrimination. There are a lot of socio-economic factors that inter-play here, including gender imbalances in other areas such as childcare; with paternity leave forcing men back into work sooner than it does for women. However due to word count restrictions I won’t go into any more detail today-that’s a blog for another time!
What is important to take away from this discussion is that women are not fairly represented at the top; this is not only to the detriment of women, but also to the companies themselves. There may well always be gender pay discrepancies but it is so so important that women make themselves heard and ask to be paid for the true value of what work they do. After all if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
There are countless studies out there arguing for the fair representation of women in the work place, and whilst it is important to have these bodies on side to support, advise and set an example; women need to take control and make themselves heard. This isn’t a particularly attractive proposal but sometimes you have to stand up (use those heels to your advantage) and shout. If you don’t believe in your value and voice it, it is unlikely anyone else will.
What are your thoughts on this age old argument? Will women ever truly be equal to the men in today’s society?