While popular culture teaches women to act like a woman and think like a man in order to win the game of love, how about the game of life? At the dawn of every single day, women rush to and from work. Most women are the heads of their households while many others are single mothers. However, it is sad that after such days of long labour women still make less money than their male counterparts.
The notion of women thinking like men has become a norm in most spheres but is it really a point if women are still hitting the glass ceiling? The sad fact remains that for all their great work, women are still struggling to catch up with men in terms of money, power and respect. Most of the standards that are set for men and women within the corporate world are mostly rooted in cultural beliefs and that is why men mostly occupy higher positions.
“Work like a lady, get paid like a man reminds me of a famous book by Steve Harvey titled ‘Act like a Lady, Think like a Man’, which basically means to be smart about things,” says Robyn Nakaambo, the head of GIPFs Public Relations Office. In this context, Nakaambo feels that since in the past earning a living was up to the only breadwinner in the family – who was the man – the term encourages women to realize that they too have the abilities to excel in the work environment, do the job just as well as a man can do it and get paid the same as men do. “After all, if a man and a woman are doing the same exact job, it would only make sense that they get compensated the same for it,” adds Robyn.
For Robyn, working like a lady to get paid like a man is something that she does not pay much attention to, as she feels that it is something that should not matter. “Yes, most professions are still dominated by men, however, if one looks at the trend over the last 10 or so years, women have been making their mark and showing their value. I remain focused on the goals that I have set for myself and do not allow myself to become consumed by any notion that because I am female I treat situations differently, business is business,” she expresses.
Why work like a lady?
“We as women need to empower ourselves by taking a leap of faith and challenging ourselves by taking on challenging career paths that are dominated by men and start moving away from the conventional women-dominated careers such as administrative work, etc.,” says Robyn. This, according to her, is the only way the corporate world would realize that women can do just as good a job as men, if not better, as they bring different skills to the table.
Generally, looking at how much women earn, Robyn says that women in the whole world have always earned less than an average male. She says that this is because ever since the beginning of time men have been considered to be providers and protectors of women and children. However, Robyn feels that for the world to change there needs to be a mental switch and not only by men but from women too, to understand that women are just as capable as men.
Can women start getting paid like men?
“Women can be paid like men if they get to know their worth. Nobody is going to offer you more than you believe you are worth and if that is what you think of yourself it is exactly what you are going to get. As a woman, you need to step into it and rise to the challenge, it is not going to come right by mourning and groaning about what you should have had. Women need to pitch higher; dream really big and they might just land up there.”
Robyn says that it is important to realize how far women have come in terms of financial freedom and self-sustainability, so there is some progress there. As time progresses, women are doing better and better. For women to be recognized and get paid like men, she thinks that there is a need for women to forge partnerships and stand together. “We should form a bond so strong that even men have no option but to partner up with us. This will take time but we need to start somewhere,” she concludes.
To ensure that women win the game like men, it is however important that the playing field is levelled for everyone. This can only be achieved when diversity becomes a norm within corporate organisations and both men and women take on leadership roles without gender considerations.