06 June 2011

The (Salary Expectation) Gender Gap

This post by Shotgun Shack on gender and INGOs has caused me to do some serious thinking about one of the trendiest development topic; gender.  SS does a good job of pointing out that there are numerous problems within the very NGOs that attempt to address gender-related problems related to the issue of poverty.  She does a great job bringing up some of the dissonance, so I will simply recommending going over to give it a read.

As a sort of addendum or to piggyback off her post, I wanted to share this chart from The Economist.  In it, men and women are asked what the believe will be their starting salary in various EU nations.  The predictions are then compared to actual pay and across gender.  Notable is the fact that, for the most part, men continue to expect to be paid more and are actually paid more than women in countries that are considered to be 'developed.'  

Also interesting is that the survey found, "Men generally placed more importance on being a leader or manager than women (34% of men verses 22% of women), and want jobs with high levels of responsibility (25% v 17%). Women, however want to work for a company with high corporate social responsibility and ethical standards; men are more interested in prestige (31% v 24%)."  This seems to support the idea put forward by SS that women largely populate the NGO world but it is men who are still largely in the leadership roles.

A hack-pseudo-psychology attempt at looking at this information has me wondering to what extent expectations and social norms have enabled this dynamic.  This is not meant to be one of these you-have-to-fix-internal-problems-first type posts that are written by some to either justify having a domestic focus or decry looking outside, but one to say that the conversation cannot be outward only.  Pointing out how a nation treats women poorly can be a tad hypocritical when coming from an NGO that does little to do it internally. The conversations about internal structures, like the one SS had, are important to continue as they can inform how interventions are shaped.