To continue a gender pay gap shaped theme, here is a re-blog of a great article written by Dr. Suzanne Doyle-Morris of The InclusIQ Institute and republished here with her kind permission. (I’ve long been a fan of her work and her first book, Beyond the Boys’ Club, is listed on my recommended reading page.)
Once you’ve read Suzanne’s article, keep scrolling down to see a joyous piece of film footage from 106 year old Virginia McLaurin.
We all like to think the gender pay gap is a workplace issue, but it seems gender based discrepancies start much younger. The Sunday Times commissioned their own research (£ for the full article) discovering that even the best intentioned of parents are paying sons more, £11.47 on average per week for 14 year olds, compared to £10.67 for their daughters of the same age for pocket money. It may initially sound relatively minor for children, but just like the pay gap amongst adults, it soon adds up. Those few pence every week total an £80 difference each year. However, it’s not just teens who are affected. Other research by the Halifax discovered boys aged 8-11 get £5.06 per week in pocket money compared to their sisters’ £4.85.
And these discrepancies are vital, as they impact how children relate to money. Various studies show the giving of an allowance or pocket money increases ‘monetary competence’. In tests, children with monetary competence spent less when given ‘credit’ and were more accurate in guessing the prices of familiar items. These are undeniably important lessons for any child to learn. It makes us at InclusIQ wonder: ‘What are the messages we send by giving girls less’? Are we subconsciously preparing daughters for a lifetime of ‘making do’ with less money; a reality which eventually leads to higher rates of poverty amongst female pensioners?
No doubt parents aim to be fair between their own children of either gender. However, this inexplicable discrepancy remains. It reminds us of the differences we see at organisations that are sure they pay people equally and based on merit. However, when we help them look at their internal figures, the evidence doesn’t quite tell the same story – particularly when it comes to discretionary pay. Internally managers always cite seemingly plausible excuses why these differences remain. However, rather than spend time on the creating excuses, we should be creating a fairer world for our current and certainly future workforce. That clearly starts with pocket money.
The Feel Good Story of the Week (other than Adele winning All the Brits) was about a dancing 106 year old from South Carolina. As she and her parents picked cotton and shucked corn in the fields, it never occurred to the young Virginia McLaurin that she might one day eat in the same restaurants as white people. And the notion that she would live to see the country elect a black president, and that one day she’d be invited to the White House and clasp his hands and dance with him for all the world to see? Impossible. And yet it happened — and was captured in a video released by the White House of McLaurin meeting the Obamas during a Black History Month celebration last week.
The Washington Post describes the moment Virginia got to see the footage of herself (complete with blue nails) dancing with the Obamas:
Then finally, deep into the afternoon on Monday, McLaurin got to watch the moment that had made her famous. Her eyes were fixed on the iPhone in her lap, as she sat in a backroom of Busboys and Poets restaurant near U Street — in front of a mural of civil rights icons. Her mouth dropped open: There she was, dancing with her beloved president. She seemed almost as amazed by the technology that was allowing her to relive it all.
“Where can I get one of these?” she asked about the smartphone video. “I wish this was mine.”
For a few hours over lunch, she reflected on her life and those precious few minutes she had fulfilling a dream she didn’t even know to entertain until 2008.
Here’s the film footage. Just wonderful.