By Lynn Yeakel and Rosemarie B. Greco, Co-Chairs Vision 2020
For women at the height of their careers, pay equity may be a gauzy concept and not a burning issue. After all, a c-suite executive has many other professional and personal concerns. Her pay has been negotiated, approved, and made public in filings. Why should pay equity matter to her now?
Our answer: “Now more than ever.”
Here’s why: A woman at her professional pinnacle is (finally) in a position to do something to insure that other female employees on lower rungs on the corporate ladder are also paid based on their job performance and length of service. And they should be paid the same for the same job.
While it is discouraging that only 16 percent of all corporate board seats are held by women, we ask those few women to speak out. Use your position as a female director, even if this means calling attention to yourself as a female director, to raise the issue of pay equity.
Inquiring is not for your self-interest. Make the business case that pay equity benefits the organization. For the corporate culture to be at its best, to attract and retain talent, pay equity must be a focus. For sense of integrity for the leadership, pay equity must be reviewed.
Women on non-profit boards also are in a position to speak up. These organizations – whether it’s the size of a multi-national charity or as small as the board of a church or temple – all have employees. It is incumbent upon a female board member to speak up about pay equity. Don’t suggest a one-time inspection of current employees. Ask about instituting regular reviews so that the policy continues long after you leave the board.
As the founders of Vision 2020, a national initiative to advance women’s equality, with pay equity is an important goal, we champion equal pay as good for women, for their families and for the American economy. Pay inequality impacts women and their families during their working years and follows women into their retirement years.
We urge women in leadership positions to make the case for pay equity.
For more information on Vision 2020 visit, Drexel.edu/vision2020