Wal-Mart, Women, & Workplace Inequity
There will always be inequity in pay – – and usually the inequity is on the side of women because they are, most of the time, the designated primary care-giver once they become a parent. I think where the equal/balancing act gets skewed is in the importance a parent plays in the life of a child. Once you’re a parent, YOU view your career differently (even if you do not want to admit it in writing or publicly).
For a few, they will hire nannies or have extended family that plays the role either of primary care-giver during working hours – or emergency care giver when the child is sick, school gets cancelled, etc.But – for the vast majority of women – they will make the conscious (and correct) decision to put their career in 2nd place because their child needs them NOW. It won’t matter what project is due, what deadline may be missed or meeting not attended – – they will be with their child.
Most men do not face this challenge – and consequently – by upper management – – they are seen as the contributors who will always be ready to work the extra hours, do whatever it takes, to get the job done. Ask a room full of men and women at work (between Sept & May) what they’re most concerned about every day between 3:15 – 3:45. 90% of the women will say they’re waiting to hear from their children that they are home safe. Most of the men will answer along the lines of working on whatever is in front of them. This is the basis for the Wal-Mart Class Action lawsuit.
The world of work is like athletic competition – – it is a game. The biggest difference is the work game lasts for years – – athletic competitions only last for short periods of time, followed by long periods of down-time.
I’ve never had a client say they were glad they put their company first – – but I’ve had 100+ rue the fact they missed too much of their child’s growing up and they cannot go back and relive it.
For most of us, our children are our legacy, not our career.
Kay Stout is a Managing Partner in Pacheco Stout Consulting, a public speaker, and a leader in career transition. Visit blog, Another Point of View or Twitter @kaystout. Kay is a regular on the Behind The Mike Radio Show.