She can be a cook, a house keeper, a mother, a career woman, and a wife—but how does she get compensated for performing all of these roles in a single day? Oh right, she falls victim to a gender pay gap, where being “like a girl” means you do not get equal pay. Thanks to Always’ “Always Like a Girl” campaign started back in June, women can feel more empowered to feel equal to their male counterparts. With this confidence, women can hopefully be more confident in the office and ask for the pay they deserve.
But why exactly would women feel uncomfortable with the idea of asking their boss for a pay raise at work? It’s probably because a woman who holds her own in a room full of men is an idea that is feared, thus making her hesitant to ask for more money in the hopes to avoid creating a negative image of herself. According to Forbes’ “Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Apologizes For Comments On Women’s Pay,” Facebook’s Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg addresses the gender pay gap in her book Lean In. Forbes explains, “Sandberg’s book points out that women who ask for a higher salary are typically viewed as more demanding than men who do the same thing.”
However, if a man were to ask the same question, they would be praised for their directness and ability to take charge. But then again, perhaps they do not have to ask for a raise at all. Forbes notes that “men that work as a senior software development engineer make around $137,000 per year compared to $129,000 for women in the same position.” In this situation, with a pay grade that is $8,000 more than a woman’s, it’s difficult to believe that a man would ask for more. It also begs the question, “why shouldn’t a woman ask for more?”
Well according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, women will be rewarded by “karma.” Nadella made this statement ironically at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Phoenix, Arizona. After receiving negative backlash for this comment, Nadella apologized by saying he was “completely wrong.”
Unfortunately, the female inferiority that was displayed in Nadella’s view on the gender pay gap was a similar idea that was seen in the “Always Like A Girl” campaign. In the beginning of the ad, young adolescent boys as well as adult men and women were asked to perform certain athletic tasks the way a “girl” would. All of them would run and pitch in an awkward way. Yet, when little girls were asked the same, they would be aggressive and fierce. Time.com notes that when the older women watched the reaction of the younger girls, they “soon realize[d] their mistake”—believing that being “just like a girl” is an insult. The motivation behind Always’ campaign is to “empower women and attack what Always calls ‘the self-esteem crisis’ among young girls.”
Perhaps Always’ mission will be successful and those very same fierce girls who were brave enough to step up to the plate will be the same women to “demand” and receive equal pay in their careers. The scary question would then be: if women can take over the work world, what is there left for men to do? Maybe they can strap on our heels then feel the relief of taking them off after work, only to realize that their job is not over when they get home.
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