Gender expectations from our past may be involved in the different rate of pay that is seen between genders in modern business and between the number of female and male managers and leaders, (11.5), and difference in number of women and men hired in some industries. (11.6) Changing pay rates and employment statistics won’t happen simply by hiring more females though, listening and following their decisions is also necessary.
Males and females tend to communicate differently and have different values regarding teamwork so differences in pay and in the number of leaders of one gender or the other may vary depending on those differing values and communication styles. Men may ask for larger salaries or bonuses as a signal of greater power or respect of one individual or company in comparison to others with a smaller CEO salary, while women valuing collaboration and family-time more, may ask for more flexible hours or onsite childcare.
Theoretically the ancient matriarchal style hunter-gatherer cultures shared leadership roles in different areas of expertise. While we can’t know what people did in ancient times, modern groups that still live primitively suggest that gender roles do naturally exist. Males were the more expert hunters and women were the more expert gatherers and caregivers for the younger children. The amount of calories provided by the gatherers was more consistent and plentiful than the occasional protein provided by the hunters, so respect for each other’s expertise was the norm in the early days of human history.
Nutrient analysis suggests that while intake would vary with the season, the nomadic lifestyle would follow where the best food was in season, and gathering may have provided about 65% of the calories and hunting provided about 35%. Protein availability could be a very large part of the diet at times of abundance, some excess could be dried and preserved as jerky. Protein made up 19 to 50% of calories at times and finding adequate variety of other types of foods with important trace nutrients was likely difficult. Cereal grains were not really used in primitive diets unlike in our modern diet. (11.7)
- “A recent analysis showed that on average fruit represents 41% of hunter-gatherer diets, seed & nuts 26%, underground storage structures (tubers, roots, and bulbs) 24%, and other plant tissues (flowers, gums, leaves) the remaining 5% (4).” (11.7)
A merit based system would pay for the hours worked and value produced rather than the image an inflated salary or bonus might present to competitors. Women are paid less than men for equal roles but jobs that employ primarily women or start to employ more women also tend to become less well paid once more women are associated with the job. (11.8, 11.9)
More education for women doesn’t seem to help, the pay gap between females and males exists across the range of education levels. While women earn more when they have a college or professional degree the percentage that they earn in comparison to males with an equivalent amount of education actually worsens. Women with some college, a high school education or less earn 74% of their equivalent male counterpart on average while a woman with a four year or more advanced college degree earns on average 74% of her male counterpart. Other parameters are also presented graphically in a report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2017): (11.10)
However a closer look at how much women earn suggests that it might actually be mothers who are being paid less. A single career woman may earn closer to her male counterpart’s wage. Speaking up and asking and negotiating for a larger salary is also important for women to do. If paying a man a larger salary makes a company look successful then shouldn’t a larger salary for women also boost the company’s reputation as profitable enough to pay their employees well? (11.11)
Women valuing collaboration may think they don't need a larger wage, they care about the company's success, but they may benefit from trying to look at it from what might be a more masculine perspective - a larger wage might lead to more confidence and productivity for the worker and lead to even better success for the company.
Based on the hunter-gatherer’s contributions to their family’s nutrition it would make sense to pay mothers and women more - 65 cents for women and 35 cents for men out of every dollar. Before getting outraged though, as a nutritionist I would support the (alleged) matriarchal viewpoint that calories (or dollars) aren’t the only thing that is important and that both contributions are equally important, with a 50/50 split for the pay day. The reason nutritionally that both contributions are equally important is that they add up to a balanced diet. Either contribution on its own would not be as nutritionally complete.
The gatherers would have spent many tedious hours doing fine detail work gathering berries or digging starchy root vegetables for their contribution of 65% of the calories and they would be providing essential carbohydrates which provides energy in the form of starch and sugars. Trace nutrients in the form of a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant phytochemicals would also be provided in the varied flavorful edible herbs and colorful fruits and vegetables.
The hunters would have had to work together in teams to look for large prey like deer while avoiding carnivores such as wolves in some areas, or in other areas they might travel solo looking for small game. Creativity and cunning would likely have been needed to trap or kill a prey animal with a primitive tool or avoid a larger carnivore.
The hunter’s contribution would provide essential fats and protein and a few trace minerals that would be less available in the gatherer’s plant based contribution to the hunter-gatherer diet.
Paying equally for differences, and valuing differences is my recommendation and goal; specialization has value, it saves time, adds efficiency and skill; nature is smart and repeats what works.
Biologically we have some differences that have value. But society hasn't been set up to pay equally or value those differences in the same way.
Bringing up history is not to suggest we need to be in a 1950’s gender role mindset because there are some differences - on average, not to be compared to one individual’s potential, but on average some biological differences exist between males and females. Valuing those specializations equally and paying for them equally would be my recommendation.
The economic problem is one of scale - fine detail work that takes many hands would be a large budget if paid as well as a single creative lead on a team might be paid. The argument for paying the lead more is that their’ “creative” contribution, assembling everyone else’s work, seems like a large task, it is bringing together a large task, however, could that creative lead possibly have done that large task exclusively by his or herself no matter what their gender? If the task involved many many people’s fine detail work putting together different parts of the project then how could one “creative” lead be responsible for the success of the whole project?
So just change the pay rates, change the priorities on which pay is based, and plan the budget in advance. More hours of the fine detail work is needed so pay for it, divide the total hours needed and budget a good wage and benefits for all of the staff needed. Then if one or two creative types are needed to assemble the whole project figure out what is left in the budget for their salary and maybe a “lead” bonus that will mean they are earning more than the larger number of workers, but the lead would also be getting some extra attribution and recognition of their creative role. Bonuses for the whole team at the completion of a large project or a party or some other ritual can help strengthen a team’s morale.(7.30)(11.34)
The creative lead would do well to remember the larger team's work made the "creative" whole a possibility and that they couldn't possibly have done the "whole" job all by themselves. In a collectivist culture, which is typical for many Asian nations, the "whole" team would be more likely to be celebrated or chastised as a group for a project’s success or failure and it would bring shame to one person to have attention be brought on their role instead of the attention being focused on an achievement of the whole group. (7.3)
While I will be the only one to have typed this project it was made possible with the help of all the academics and writers whose work is referenced in the footnotes included in the Links & References sections. The software designers who developed the website and ebook graphic design also helped prompt my writing or thought process at times. Over the years online courses and blogs dedicated to helping content marketers and business entrepreneurs or leaders improve their skills have also made a large difference in my skills and added to the variety of resources that are included in this website. My health has been helped by information I’ve learned, it has also been harmed by stress from communication difficulties with navigating in the online and real world communities.
Learning things the hard way can make it easier for everyone else to learn the easy way, if the information is shared. As our world has become more connected and larger with the addition of the virtual communities we are meeting more people and risk offending more people, but that can also be an opportunity to help or be helped by more people. Mixed communities of the future will include more diversity of cognitive skills as children with neurological conditions grow up and join the workforce.
Policies may need to be more blunt about expectations for behavior to help guide workers with less natural ability at social skills - and who might not understand and follow the social cues of “unspoken rules” - which can lead to upset coworkers - and a situation that might lead to harassment or discrimination against the worker who hadn’t grasped the unspoken expectations of their fellow coworkers and/or their management’s unwritten rules.
If you as a manager have rules - write them down, call it a policy, put it in a book or on a website and inform the workers - and -
“That would be great.” (9.9) Thanks.