Musings & Threads. Current Events.
There’s nothing like getting into the car early in the morning for a bit of a road trip. Yesterday, I was headed into the City and I left Southold at 7:20 a.m., which because Daylight Savings just went into effect, it felt to me like the 6:20 a.m. it really was. The great part of that, is that the day was just “breaking” and there was NO traffic, as in no other cars on the road in my direction—for miles. For me, driving is one of the times I cherish for just thinking. I turned on the radio—always WCBS 880 AM—I need my “traffic and weather together on the ‘8s’" and I need to go through the news cycle a couple of times. Here are a few highlights of items that occurred last week, and the reports about them that made me think—sufficiently that I followed up, researching them further again today.
International Women’s Day.
This is really great. But we have a long, long way to go if the goal is gender equality. The news report pointed out some common misconceptions that are continually perpetuated.
- While the gender pay gap IS closing, it is often reported that if it continues to close at the rate it is now, in 10 years, by 2028 the gap will be closed. WRONG. WCBS reported that the gap will actually be closed 31 years after that. PEW Research indicates a 2058 date.
- Although the number of women CEOs has increased, nearly one quarter of CEO positions are now held by women. WRONG. WCBS, I thought, said that number is actually 3%. The Huffington Post reports that number as 4.6% of S&P and Fortune 500 Companies; and PEW Research indicates 5.4% of Fortune 500 CEOs in 2017. (I believe we actually lost one among the number of female CEOs in 2018.)
- I found in my research that women holding board positions of Fortune 500 Companies has more than doubled in 2016, since 1995, the beginning of this PEW study period; from 9.6% in 1995 to 20.2% in 2016 (I can’t help but worry about those fractional people.) It is interesting to note that this has outpaced the other categories.
- Today, I learned that a French publication, Liberation, charged men 25% more for their papers on March 8th, a symbol of their support of closing the gender pay differential. I think that’s just great.
The point of my bringing this forth is that we should celebrate the strides we have made, and honor the women who have pushed out in the front, making sacrifices that have served us all. There is still so much more work to be done; we cannot rest on our laurels or be complacent. As we learned from the headlines of this year, there were unspoken, unthinkable inequities in the workplace that go far beyond these. We applaud those women that have stepped forward, and know that they have had to relive humiliations, many of which have been buried for a long time.
I have something else that I would also add to this list of things to think about. I worked in a “man’s world” of banking for 20 years, and I will say that my observation and experience is that women are hard on other women—too hard. My "mentors," "advocates," "sponsors" were all men. That is not good. Women need to break this cycle and actively help pull other women to the top with them. We need to then create a spirit of truly paying it forward.
Also in the news:
- Paralympics 2018—how great are these individuals?
- Two Nor’easters in one week, with a third scheduled to hit tomorrow. Are you sure nothing’s up with climate change? And, doesn’t it really, really feel like spring is a month early? Coincidentally, I also read an article last night how the birds are getting their migrations schedules all messed up as a result of this "early spring" thing going on.
- Aforementioned Daylight Savings Time—is this a good idea or not? I hate the getting up early part, but do love the light at the end of the day!
- And how about that guy from Ohio, former NIKE exec, that tuned out, totally, and lives a life disconnected from the current news cycle. He thought it would be temporary, but in fact, went whole hog—really, he bought a pig farm in Ohio. It sounds kind of extreme, but I certainly admire what he has chosen, in that his work now, aside from the farm, is to ecologically restore a 45 acre former strip mining site. That is really something.
- Last, and going full circle back to women, I was moved by the New York Times Special Section, “Overlooked,” which features remarkable women over the years who were not acknowledged with obituaries. The author went back to 1851, and the resulting tributes to accomplished, talented, noteworthy women are surely worth reading.