THE BLOG

The Gender Pay Gap and Work Overload - Why Are We Working So Hard for Free?!

07/11/2014 12:54 GMT | Updated 06/01/2015 10:59 GMT

Whoever I talk to in the working world, the subjects of overload, exhaustion and burnout are a primary topic of conversation.

But here's the major issue; it's not a level playing field and women are bearing the brunt on many levels. As I write today, on November 6th, we are now in the section of the year when women have entered the 'zero pay zone' compared to their male counterparts. Yes, that's right. Pay for a like for like job is still higher for a large number of men than women & from this point in the year onwards, many women are effectively working for free. Feeling great, ladies?!

Especially when the demands on working women are often far more onerous than for men. Remember those great facts from Washington Post reporter Brigid Schulte's book; 'Overwhelmed: Work, Love & Play When No One Has Time?' http://amzn.to/1onM6Hl

1. On average, women still do twice the housework and twice as much child care as men http://usat.ly/1opcLBQ

2. The higher their education, the more time women spend on mothering, and working mothers spend more time with their children than stay-at-home mothers did in the 1960s http://1.usa.gov/1toOtZA

3. Women are two and a half times more likely than men to interrupt their sleep to care for others, and they stay awake longer when they do http://wapo.st/13MkZN1

4. Women still spend considerably more time taking care of others than men do, and not surprisingly, it takes a toll. Adult women, for example, are the fastest growing group being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but a growing number of researchers believe it isn't really the neurological disorder, but rather that they're so overloaded http://wapo.st/1wkb0ZI

Not enough companies are recognizing the cost to their business or their valuable female employees from this overload. Women need and thrive with enhanced flexibility, facts substantiated by a large number of management studies concluding that women are better at collaborating, taking the initiative, self-development, driving for results, solving problems, developing others and building relationships. To put it bluntly, women in the workplace are often more wholly human than their male counterparts. Strong leaders despite greater demands in their lives.

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