This morning's update from Little Pink Book addressed pay inequality among legal professionals:
It’s a fact: hard-working women in many fields (like law) make significantly less than their male counterparts. A recent study found, even while juggling demands at home, women lawyers work the same hours as men, but with less pay. And while about half the associate law hires in the past two decades were women, less than 15 percent became partners.
I repeat for emphasis: women lawyers work the same hours as men, but with less pay...
So what do they recommend? The first suggestion dismayed me:
“Women should not be afraid to take chances,” says Margaret Strange, Attorney at Law at Jackson Lewis LLP. “Look for areas that will be developing down the road and create an early expertise.”
So women should become more expert? While working the same hours as their male counterparts for less pay? Because only if you are better than a man can you be paid the same? Are we really going to fall into this trap again, that somehow it is our fault?
While becoming an expert in "the next big thing" may produce financial rewards, it does not guarantee equal pay! If you want to do that, fine, but equity should not be contingent on special skills. Equal pay for equal work is fair and right!
The post redeems itself, going on to discuss the need for women to follow pay information standards for their fields and regions. This activity will let you know if your salary falls in the correct ballpark; it will not tell you how you compare to the d00ds at your firm. Perhaps the time has come for true salary transparency, and another blog on the LPB website discusses this issue.
Women have to keep pushing at barriers and demanding fair treatment. We cannot assume that if only we were better trained or more prepared (or had glass slippers and a fairy godmother), then we would be noticed and rewarded. That's been the game plan for at least 20 years, and women still lack representation in politics, corporate boards, law firms, and academia.
Vision2020 is a decade of action to promote full equality of women in every aspect of life in the US. Click over and explore their site; it includes webcasts about women in America in every facet of life. If you care about the lack of women in leadership in the US, sign the Declaration of Equality.
Image courtesy of PhotoXpress.