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Thousands Of Women In Iceland Left Work At 2:38pm

News

The time was 2:38pm. While those numbers on the clock don’t seem like they should hold much significance, in actuality – it’s a powerful time that should spark the attention of every single woman, worldwide.


Our current society struggles with a pay gap that yields women making 14 to 18 percent less than men. Not only is that a huge divide, but the gap won’t close until 2186. (Let that digest for a second.) At the end of October, women in Iceland, a country that is known as the world leader in gender equality, took a stand and left their jobs at exactly 2:38pm, since that’s the time that they were technically being paid to be there until.

We should all be applauding them and their actions.

But, what does it all boil down to? As women, we’re technically working for free after 2:38pm. Free. And no one wants to be working for free, or deserves to be. As successful women, whether we are out working hard for ourselves or working hard for our employer, we have a right to be treated as equals and the pay gap is tremendously important not matter what our current job situation may be.

The pay gap is slow to close and is reported to take about 52 more years before we really see the fruits of our labor and a paycheck that is the same for both men and women doing the same job.

As a business owner myself and a mother of both a boy and a girl, it pains me that my children will grow up in a world where they could hold the same job, for the same company, and be paid different salaries. We live in a world where things can progress so quickly for the good, yet progress is moving so slow in this specific area.

At the end of the day, it’s not really about the money though, is it? It’s about what’s fair. Women in this free nation have strived to be treated equal to men for so long and have measured up neck and neck in almost every area – except the wage gap.

This needs to change and it should matter in a very major way to every female, whether you are out there every day putting your all into a career or you’re a stay at home mom. It all matters just the same.

What can you do to help close the gap quicker?

1. Support Pay Transparency

More often than not, we are urged to not discuss pay in the work place, which means that women aren’t always aware they are making less than their male colleagues. Supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act will enable females to reduce pay secrecy.

2. Support a National Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

Let’s face it: a majority of the caregiving responsibilities fall on the mother, who in turn are also more likely to leave the work force to stay home with the children. Because of this many women are discriminated against during the hiring process and denied certain opportunities. Men are less likely to face these stereotypes. Estimates have revealed that more than 10 percent of this gap is due to women spending less time in the labor force than men, so having a program like this intact would be very beneficial.

3. Help Pass a Paid Sick Day Legislations

With the same breath, not having to worry about taking a sick day to take care of a child or yourself hold tremendous value, too.

Moral of the story: support, support, support. No woman should have to be faced with this worry while starting her career.

Career

Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.


In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.


Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.