Twitter alone could tell you that women’s empowerment threatens the masculinity of men. It also turns them into Trump supporters, according to the Harvard Business Review. Within a political questionnaire, researchers asked middle-aged married men whether they earned more or less than their wives, assuming that the possibility of being outearned would threaten their roles as breadwinners. And oh boy (pun intended), does it. as indicated by their “votes” in a hypothetical general election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
When asked the spousal-income question before “casting their vote,” men favored Trump over Clinton by 8 points. But when the order was reversed they preferred Clinton by 16 points, constituting a 24-point swing in preferences. Proving that their preference is “a gender thing,” the spousal-income question had no effect on a hypothetical Trump-Sanders scenario.
Men consider their superiority synonymous with masculinity. This masculinity threatened, men symbolically reinforce their dominance by endorsing traditional- restrictive- gender norms.
Men are equally protective of their identities as “bosses”. In another study, female managers were 130% more likely than non-managers to have received sexual harassment from their male colleagues.
As much as CEOs rationalize unequal pay and all-male leadership as “business decisions,” gender workplace inequality stems from male insecurity. Intuitively, those feelings seem rooted in fact. After all, the jobs and money need to come from somewhere- some men. When they think women are reaching for their slice of pie, men strike back with sexism.
But contrary to popular belief, their slice won’t shrink. Instead, the pie will grow- for everyone. Even at its record low in 2015, the gender pay gap cost the American economy 2.9% of its GDP. Thus, closing the gender pay gap would create billions of dollars in business.
Seem far-fetched? Imagine how you’d spend a 20% raise. New car? New wardrobe? New vacation? The pay disparity deprives women of all of those spending opportunities, which is especially damaging when they drive most family purchasing decisions. Lower salaries also limit their investment options, inhibiting their participation in the stock market.
In addition to revenue and stakeholders, companies also sacrifice their talent to sexism. When working moms don’t make enough money to justify the expense of childcare, they’re more likely to leave the workforce. Mothers or not, women don’t particularly like being underpaid. Thus, companies incur additional switching costs of replacing female talent, .
TLDR: Gender inequality is expensive for everyone involved.
Extended to the entire world, the costs top a trillion. Indeed, if the world’s women played an identical role in labor markets to men, “$28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to the world’s annual GDP by 2025.”
Stockholders lose their damn minds over 1% fluctuations in the global GDP (China, anyone?), so I’m astonished that leading businessmen don’t support parity merely on the economic merits. Even if a man loses a promotion or portion of income to a woman, he stands to reap many indirect benefits of a stronger economy (higher pay, more business, more social and health resources, need I go on).
Those bottom-line benefits extend to individual businesses, too. Compared to their all-male peers, Fortune 500 companies with at least three female board directors generated earned higher revenues and sales. They also registered higher returns on invested capital and equity.
Gender parity begets not only profit, but productivity and positive regard. Women contribute additional perspectives to discussions, which improves decision-making. Since their stakeholders and customers probably aren’t exclusively male, gender-diverse boards are better prepared to serve their constituents.
Better performance equals better pay for men and women alike.
Beyond the numbers, female leaders also foster more positive work environments, as shown by a McKinsey study of leadership behaviors. Female leaders are more likely to listen to individual concerns, visualize and strategize future goals, and endorse collaborative decision making. Um, who doesn’t want to feel understood, inspired, and involved? https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=how+female+leadership+impacts+corporate+culture
No matter how enjoyable work is, though, it’s still work. Would you rather spend 40, 50, 60 hours per week obsessing over office politics or watching your children grow up?
Think about it: We’ve so devalued caregiving that, even as more women enter the workforce, we automatically assume that all men prefer the former, As much press as Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer receive, the caregiving man is even more anomalous than the “career woman” mother.
Just as mothers deserve opportunities to “lean in”, father deserve opportunities to “lean out” when possible. Experiencing less conflict between their professional and professional responsibilities alleviates their stress in both domains, increasing their emotional availability and more positive attitudes toward their children. Happier father, happier children. Herself enjoying more flexibility, their mother is likely happier too. When women win, everyone wins. Women. Men. Children. Work teams. Corporations. Society at large.
So where we go from here? Gender inequality isn’t as simple as Sally Sales Manager receiving $38K to Steve’s $52, so it won’t bend to a government rule. To close the gap, we need to correct the other factors restricting female participation in the workforce including punitive maternal leave policies, hiring biases, insufficient professional pipelines, and sexual harassment.
Most importantly, making up half the workforce and the majority of its leadership, men need to sign onto these changes. Until society decouples dominance and masculinity, that won’t happen. Therefore, real progress requires a rebrand of the American man and woman.
Thankfully, my generation’s on a good trajectory. In the aforementioned HBR study, young liberal men actually showed more support for Clinton when faced with gender role threat. Already, we’re redefining the gender roles that restrict us both. Demanding the same transparency, flexibility, and equality from companies, we’re building gender progressivism into the market, too. If we’re enacting this progress from entry level roles, imagine the changes we’ll create from the C-suite. Best part? Those benefits won’t discriminate by gender.