Equal Pay For Equal Work

The post below summarized my experience working as a young female employee in an e-commerce firm in Lagos, Nigeria. Specifically on my direct exposure with less pay because of my gender; a trend that is all too familiar in the corporate world these days – one which must be called out by everyone especially women.

Employed as a social media manger, my remuneration was negotiated on the basis of probationary working phase to be reviewed after a few months. Work was fun and fun was work because of great colleagues and the fact that I knew my stuff. Although I worked with smart male counterparts, I thought myself more intelligent that the majority of them, this is because they found easy tasks at work cumbersome and could not engage in intellectual conversations with me.

One day, I was showered compliments on how great I was at work and how valuable I was to the organisation. One thing led to another and we were discussing remunerations and I found out I was paid not only way less than he but I was paid the very least salary in the team as the only female.

When I confronted my boss, these words fell on my face and have built the framework of my advocacy for equal gender pay. He said to me –  “You are only but a female, you do not need to earn more or even close to what the males are earning “

A report published by the IMF found that female presence on the board actually enhanced profitability.

An analysis by the IMF(http://bit.ly/2jYTLKT)  reveals that firms with a larger share of women in senior positions have higher return on assets. Adding one or more woman in senior management or on the corporate board, while keeping the size of the board unchanged is associated with an 8-13 basis points higher return on assets. So why do I get less for being a girl? Why am I not paid because of my competency and value? What has my gender got to do with my earning power. This issue needs to be addressed as I know that many women are suffering in this same situation. It is therefore safe to say that only dummies will say they do not believe in equal gender pay.

For successful companies recorded like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, women hold senior positions and make very good leaders. In the U.S., women are taking home only 82.9 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress., and the discrepancy is worse for minorities and for those at the high end of the pay scale. Globally, things aren’t much better. The World Economic Forum released data indicating it will take 118 years until the global pay gap between men and women is closed.

Here are a few solutions to gender unequal pay;

  •  Implement Pay Transparency: Yes, it would be a bit of a headache for managers, especially in the early days. But having to defend the pay of their employees would not necessarily be bad for the corporation. It may ultimately work as incentive for employees to increase their productivity. It would force organizations to establish a meritocracy. Those who are most productive get paid the most. The highest pay wouldn’t go to those who ask for it, to those who threaten to quit, or to those who are friends with the boss, but, instead it would go to those that actually deserve more pay. Some tech companies are already implementing these strategies in order to reduce the gender pay gap. According to the Guardian, New York based analytics company, SumAll provides an online document so employees can view the salaries . Social sharing startup, Buffer also makes all their employees’ salary information public. Ideally, more organizations who care about gender parity will follow suit, but it will probably require legislation to get the larger organizations on board.
  • Enforce paternity leave
  • Eliminate Negotiation
  • Subsidise Childcare

Written By

Susan Ikegwu

Follow her on Twitter and IG @Suzy_Smallz


Jane Egerton-Idehen

Jane Egerton-Idehen is a telecommunication executive with over 13 years’ experience in the Nigerian, Liberian and Ghanaian telecommunications markets. Jane has a strong passion for promoting girls in STEM and ensuring women in STEM industries remain and grow their careers in that industry. She curates her thoughts around her career journey, experiences and passion in life.