The problem with the female price tag

Depressing figures out last week show women still earn 18 per cent less than men…statistics also reveal that the gap balloons after women have children, suggesting mothers miss out on pay rises and promotions.
With a leadership team made up of 60% women and a very feminist founder (he has no choice!), this is a subject area close to PrettyGreen’s heart,  so we noodled why this still is, and looked at what can we done.
One thing in particular we see time and time again is what we call ‘Sorry Syndrome’.  When mothers return to the workplace there is a shift, they have new responsibilities – personal (“I want to see my child”) and logistical (“Ahhh, I have got to get them from nursery”). This can often breed guilt…. “I’m sorry that I am leaving” (when I am paid to), “I am sorry that I can’t be in that meeting” (on my day off), “I am sorry”, “I am sorry”, “I am sorry”.


This feeling of work-associated guilt, especially when children are young, hugely affects a woman’s confidence in the pay / promotion conversation. Women need to stop saying sorry, and realise their worth is just the same as it was before having a child.  However it is also fundamental that organisations have a supportive and empowering culture, allowing working mothers to thrive with confidence and acknowledgment.
To help combat this syndrome, businesses need to focus on two things:


– 1. Setting up working parents to ‘win’ from the offset through support, empathy and encouragement


– 2. Looking at the bigger picture


Unless organisations also support and encourage fathers to unapologetically support with childcare, then fundamental change will be impossible as the majority of childcare and expectation to work PT / less hours will remain with ‘mum’ and Sorry Syndrome will continue to be a feminine issue.
We are really proud that PrettyGreen is as flexible (and encouraging) with our working fathers as we are with working mothers in terms of PT working / shared paternity / compressed hours / school holiday support. We do not have a one-size-fits-all in our approach to working parents – we are flexible and balance the needs of our agency and Clients with the individual needs of our staff and their families.  We are passionate about empowering and setting up our team to win….


If only everyone shared the same ethos.