For all of Sheryl Sandberg's talk about leaning in and actresses like Jennifer Lawrence trying to address the gender pay gap, it's clear we have a long way to go before reaching true equality. Don't believe me? A new study from the from the University of Wisconsin (USA) and the University of Warwick and Cass Business School (UK) reveals that women are actually asking for pay rises at the same rate as men, they're just not getting them. In fact, based on the study, men are 25 per cent more likely to receive a pay rise when they ask for one compared to women. Sigh.
Even more sadly, these results are based on actual Australian statistics, because apparently we're the only country who tracks when our employees ask and receive pay increases. The sample examined 4,600 workers from over 800 Australian employers to come up with these frankly disappointing results.
So why is this still happening? According to entrepreneur and founder of theremarkablewoman.com.au Shivani Gopal, there's a few things at work here. Firstly, there's make breadwinner bias - where men believe that they need to earn more because of an archaic need to 'provide' for their family. Secondly, Gopal argues it's the work of confirmation bias - which states that we tend to support and befriend people who are more like us. Considering men make up the bulk of management roles, this means they're more likely to give salary increases to - yep you guessed it - other males.
Lastly, Gopal says it comes down to a general lack of opportunity. "I don't agree that women have a lack of assertiveness, women are used to fighting hard for what they deserve and are exceptional workers and leaders," she says. "We all know that practice makes perfect - but with limited women in senior roles and [less] opportunity to ascend in the workforce due to limited mentorship places that usually sit second fiddle to business pressures - there is less opportunities for women to practise and thus reap the rewards accordingly."
We guess we're going to have to start pretending them then.