We’ve made good progress toward workplace equality over the past few years. Yet we need to pick up the pace! If we keep going as we are right now, we won’t get rid of the gender pay gap until 2152. We may be able to share a healthy laugh about it now and then, but the problem isn’t going away unless we devote some serious attention to it.
The thing about the pay gap is that it feels good and righteous to point it out and condemn it, but the people doing the fixing? Those are sorely outnumbered by the ones doing the pointing and condemning.
Where I work, though, we have a culture of fixing. We’ve decided to champion remote work because it’s a solution to many of the workplace’s common ills, the gender pay gap being one of them.
Remote Work… Works Better For Women Across Several Industries
Remote work has been the target of several studies over the past decade. The researchers’ findings were unequivocal. Increased flexibility for employees correlates with a reduced disparity in pay between men and women.
Want solid proof? The tech industry should be your first stop. Tech ranks second among sectors embracing remote work. How does this translate into compensation? Female employees earn 96-98 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. That’s a tiny difference when compared to the average of 76 cents to every dollar a man makes across other industries.
Healthcare and media are other prime examples of industries that embrace remote work. Those too, are synonymous with greater pay equality. In contrast, enterprises where remote work hasn’t been adopted – or, fair enough, is impossible at the moment – like agriculture, mining, and food services carry some of the largest gender pay gaps.
Remote Working Mothers Don’t Need To Put Double The Effort For Less Pay
Childrearing and caregiving responsibilities still prevalently fall to women. As such, a woman in that position needs to work twice as hard to match the same career her male counterpart. Men, more often free of such responsibilities, manage to put more and higher-quality work hours in. And for non-remote industries, “hours in” is still the gold standard for employee evaluation.
Remote work emphasizes deliverables over facetime. For working mothers, that’s a game changer. They can now build their work day around family obligations. This allows women to keep their jobs and cut down on childcare expenses. A lot of women quit the workplace because the math isn’t right when childcare comes into consideration – now that’s not a problem, anymore.
Goodbye Gender Bias
Gender bias is another factor that comes into play when giving people their bonuses, or during salary negotiations. An example: the idea that it’s inappropriate for female employees to behave with the same bullish confidence as their male colleagues. This favors the man when it comes time to submit their ideas and proposals, and so it’s no wonder they end up being first in line for promotions.
The non-traditional nature of virtual work helps strip away many of these gender biases. When communication is mainly done through chat or video conference, employees benefit from a robust equalization effect. Those who’d otherwise feel anxious or disincentivized to share thoughts and opinions in a face-to-face setting are thus empowered, and the workplace is equalized.
It’s Up To Us To Get More Industries On Board
By now, the conclusion is a no-brainer: remote work offers tremendous benefit for women wanting to develop their careers. Yes, not everyone is on board. Take the corporate sector – that’s still a realm where productivity continues to be measured by presence, not output.
The people that do well put long hours – often to the detriment of their own physical and mental wealth – and the other employees fear they’ll be penalized for accessing remote work privileges to which they’re entitled.
It’s up to management to pick up the pace and take the next step toward change! That’s right managers: it’s on you guys! (and gals!) Champion a change in your company’s mindset towards remote work by embracing it not just as a token benefit offered to staff, but as something that will benefit your company as a whole. Offer proof that it will result in increased productivity and decreased burnout. Convince the upper echelons to test and measure it – the benefits will be there for all to see.
And there’s more. You won’t be just helping to bring an end to gender pay gap. That would be a worthy goal in itself, but it comes with a bonus! Adopting remote work will also boost your chances of attracting and retaining top female talent. How do you feel about THAT?
Claire is a Communications Manager at DistantJob, a remote recruitment company that specializes in global tech hires. While Claire may not boast the same tech-savvy skills as her company’s recruits, she does bring over seven years of comms experience to her team, along with a keen interest in cross-cultural communication and gender dynamics in the workplace.