5 Gender Equality Myth Busters

All women can have successful, high level careers, manage all school functions and carpooling, workout every day, eat healthy every day, plan 365 days of family meals, go grocery shopping, sleep 8 hours every night, look super fashionable, being an amazing wife, serenely work while entertaining children, have all domestic housing duties in top shape, have gorgeous flowerbeds, and travel around the world giving industry-expert talks all while being fresh and perky, right?

Karla Berman, Head of CPG at Google, starts off her talk at Advertising Week LATAM with a humorous tone to the overwhelming gender issues in the workforce. While women are getting higher positions than they did, in this panel’s example of the last 14 years, women still are making 80% of their male counterparts in the same positions. Karla points out that no one would want their male or female child to get unequal amounts of treats at a party, so why do people settle for getting unequal treatment in their careers?

Upon graduation of which 50% of college graduates are women, and using a digital agency as an example, more women than men start at an agency at the entry level. As compared to advanced careers within the same agency, the percentages shift until at the top women make up only 19%. There are a lot of systemic challenges that women have, that men don’t have along the way. There need to be more conversations about these systemic challenges, and conversations about the myths that fuel these challenges.

Myth Buster 1: The Salary Gap is Real

There is no debate. There really is a gender salary gap. It can be debated, there can be funny memes ridiculing it, but none of these attempts at degrading a woman’s worth make the pay gap any less true. Let’s take the responsibility as women to be braver negotiators, and men need to take the responsibility in admitting the gap is real. Women must be able to articulate their value as a worker, concisely and effectively.

Myth Buster 2: Be A Bias Buster

Everyone has inherent bias. A famous study with college counselor names was done. “Kate” was chosen over “Jamal,” etc. Karla talks about how everyone must be honest with the bias within themselves and work to remove them.

Myth Buster 3: Each Person Needs a Confidence Boost

90% of women say they would apply for a Junior position, whereas only 60% of men would. Only 7% of women say they would negotiate salary, whereas 69% of men say they would negotiate salary. Women need to stop making excuses for themselves, stop “boycotting themselves,” and give themselves a chance. All people have failures, but women are harder on themselves over failure.

Myth Buster 4: Network, network, network

Men have networks, like the cliché of men playing golf. For example, Karla gives: If someone needs to talk about law, they’ll go to a connection they have first before cold-calling on a lawyer. If you need someone in an industry, you’re going to prefer a soft-connection that is already established, rather than going to someone you don’t know. Karla advocates for women to find more groups to belong to, networks to socialize in, and find support in those groups. This is also an excellent place to find mentors, sponsors, or leaders for aspiration.

Myth Buster 5: Take Care of Your Personal Life

Marriage, life partners, family – whatever the personal life choices are, women must voice their need for the personal life to have balance. Old fashioned gender roles work for many, but they’re not for everyone. Women must make their personal life fit their professional life as well. If that means a stay-at-home-dad, that’s ok. If that means there are extended family helping, that works too.

Karla urges everyone, regardless of gender, to work together to achieve gender equality. The graphs shown during the presentation represented the great achievements over the last 14 years and show that everyone working together does make a difference.

Becky Johnson

Writer at Advertising Week

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