#EveryWomanCounts: Why women earn less than men

By Adaora Ikwuemesi

Women earn less than men globally, and in Nigeria, the disparity is better imagined. On average, women earn 20% less than men, even for similar jobs where they have the same education, qualifications and experience.

There are several social and economic reasons for this. Cultural programming plays a huge role. There is also, compelling evidence  that women are less confident than men when it comes to negotiating salaries. One study showed 70% of women didn’t negotiate their salaries compared to 50% of men. Another research on MBA students showed only 13% of women negotiated their salaries compared to 50% of men.

I have had the privilege of coaching women CEOs and Business Leaders. Things they could easily get board approval for, they want to keep ‘managing.’ When I researched further on this pattern of behaviour, I was alarmed on the evidence showing how much women downplayed their needs and significance in the workplace.

Just a few days ago, working on positioning the CV of a female leader for CEO roles, she was referred to as an ‘executive leader.’ She commented  that the phrase should be edited out, as the description didn’t resonate with her. Geez, I had to ask her, ‘so what are you?’ After over 10 years in C-suite positions, she was still struggling with identity issues.

These examples are not singular, they are typical of women.

As for Nigerian gender pay gap issues, I  speak from my experience in recruitment.

Women are offered less than men because they are women.

Some offers are made after unpleasant assertions on how they don’t need money because their husband or some other man will provide for them.

A few weeks ago, a report was released by Hofstede Insights on the state of diversity, equality and inclusion in 148 top Nigerian companies. The results were abysmal.

Summary, Nigerian workplaces are very male dominant, especially at senior executive levels. Are we surprised? I am not, but it was good to see the facts on paper.

Only 14 female CEOs were recorded out of 148 participating companies.

For the largest companies, women made only 12% of executive teams and 8% of boards.

43 of the companies did not have a single woman in their executive teams. How is this possible, that 43 top companies, assuming they looked, cannot find 1 woman to join their executive team? Why will this happen? I leave it to you to come up with your own hypothesis.

It is what it is. Women suffer more discrimination and inequality than men.

Why am I saying this? So those who were not aware of the issues become aware and those whose consciousness has been enlightened will take action to improve the situation in their workplaces. Whether it is through better policies or mentoring opportunities for women, every action to curb this menace will lead to a positive outcome.

In addition, if you can’t find competent women to fill your executive and board positions, I am more than happy to help, I know tons of them, so please reach out😃.

Your thoughts?

-Adaora Ikwuemesi

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