We are almost to 2023, and we’re still having conversations about how to make gender equity happen. In the U.S., women represent 48% of the entry-level workforce; but only 24% of C-suite executives. Men are promoted at a rate of 21% more than women. We still have a gender and racial pay gap and a motherhood penalty.
Yet closing the gender gap is not only the right thing to do; it’s good for the economy and would increase the U.S. GDP by $3.1 trillion.
In this episode of Breaking the Bias, Consciously Unbiased founder Ashish Kaushal sits down with Katica Roy, a gender economist and founder of Pipeline, a company that uses analytics to quantify unconscious bias within an organization. Katica also has an extraordinary story as the daughter of a refugee and immigrant on why she is so passionate about advancing equity.
They cover everything from the difference between equality and equity, how gender equity helps men too, and whether salary transparency policies are truly effective. Read below for some key takeaways and listen to the full conversation here.
*This is an excerpt of the interview has been condensed for length and clarity
On gender equity being a personal passion…
“What Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for in her career is something I saw play out in my family, which is that the lack of equity of economic opportunity for my sisters not only impacted them, but it also impacted their families. So things like [the fact that] you could be fired for being pregnant. You couldn’t get a business loan as a woman without a male co-signer. You couldn’t get an apartment or a credit card. The last is that I am a breadwinner mom who fought to be paid equitably twice and won. So I understood firsthand the inequities that women—particularly moms—faced in the workplace. Given my background in both business, with an MBA, as well as a software engineer, I felt that I could create a system that would marry economic opportunity with greater equity.”
On how technology can help close the gender gap…
“Pipeline started with a couple things. We started with research and we looked at the market. From a research perspective, we did a research study across 4,000 companies in 29 countries. What we found was that for every 10% increase in intersectional gender equity—so gender plus race and ethnicity and age—there’s a one to 2% increase in revenue. So equity is not only a social issue or the right thing to do, it’s actually a massive economic opportunity. Then in the marketplace, what we found is that 96% of CEOs are committed to equity. Unfortunately, only 22% of employees regularly see it shared and measured. So there’s a 74-point gap between what companies say is important, such as their employer branding, and the actual employee experience. That’s what Pipeline aims to close. There has been an increasing number of companies that have been committed to equity. The issue really is not awareness, it’s execution.”
On how men can be allies for gender equality…
“There’s a couple of pieces. We often assume that gender equity is a synonym for women’s rights. And it isn’t: Women are half the conversation, but men are the other half. Not only because they have the majority of leadership positions in companies, but also because gender inequity impacts them too. We just don’t talk about it. And I’ll give you some examples. For instance, 48% of working fathers would like to stay home with their children, but they can’t. And the reasons are identity, such as “Who will I be?’ and isolation, such as “Who will I connect with?’ We need to ensure that we’re not just assuming that it’s all okay for men, and it’s not okay for women. Gender equity is about ensuring equitable outcomes for everyone.”
On how taxpayers may be subsidizing the gender pay gap…
“Folks should understand that if you pay taxes, you are subsidizing the gender pay gap. What I mean by that is that where the gender gap is most pronounced, both sectors as well as occupations, those folks are more likely to be reliant [on social services]. The majority are women who are on social services or social welfare programs, which are funded by you and me, the American taxpayer. So as an American taxpayer, it’s in your interest to actually ensure that the government is closing the gender pay gap and that your tax dollars are being used not to subsidize the gender pay gap, but actually for the best economic outcome for everyone.
I’ve often said we can’t choose whether or not we pay for people. We can only choose how we pay for them. So would we like to make economic investments that have good returns? Or do we want to not do that upfront investment and then deal with the consequences of that, which are things such as social welfare programs?”
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