On May 1st, 2019, South Africa, along with the rest of the world celebrates Worker’s Day – a holiday that is over 130 years old to commemorate the hardships faced and overcome by workers and labourers from all over the globe. This specific day is also a testament to our immense capabilities in shattering discrimination and fighting for equal work rights.
Over the years many strides have been made in refining the labour atmosphere to produce fairness and become a sustainably sound and content environment. If our story ended here, the working community would have much to celebrate.
But unfortunately, even today many women are still discriminated against, with most falling through the cracks when it comes to equal pay compared to their male counterparts.
Research conducted by Ipsos showed that women get paid up to 27% less than their male counterparts, for the same amount of work and time.
Here are some guidelines women can follow to bridge the gender pay gap:
• You will be overlooked if you don’t speak up
Don’t settle when it comes to your remuneration – if you are reaching your performance goals and are receiving praise and other positive feedback for your output, discuss this with your company/manager in a non-aggressive manner and if they are not in place already, suggest clear performance-based incentives.
• Each one teach one
No matter what position you hold at your job, be the supportive pillar you wish you had towards improving relationships for other women. Empower one another in the workplace by sharing knowledge and showing encouragement to women who are driving their careers. Stand alongside those women who prove to be dynamic and demanding. When you stand for the same thing- the progress of all women, your collective voice becomes that much louder.
• Invest in yourself
Positively engage with your employers in implementing programmes that empower women. Seek out opportunities that will assist in growing your career. When internal more senior vacancies open up at your company, apply for them and share them with your female colleagues. If you are not shortlisted, ask your manager how it is that you can improve your chances of landing that particular role.
• Learn to clap for yourself
Apart from the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) you are measured against by your employer, set your own realistic goals outside of your KPIs and acknowledge yourself when you reach them. Remain resilient and steadfast in your drive; your hard work won’t always win you praise, sometimes it may even invite criticism.
• Happy employees perform better
Keep a progress journal of goals met and exceeded. It will offer you tangible leverage when negotiating for a raise with your employer. Review your performance with your company and ensure that they can see the viability of paying you more – if you are feeling appreciated financially, you will perform better.
Women have been in the labour market for over a century and have since proven that they are just as capable as their male counterparts in holding their own. It makes no sense that in the 21st century, in a democratic South Africa, they should earn any less than the men that they work alongside performing the same jobs.
Madelein Smit is the Managing Director at HR Company Solutions.