Is it still 1986? Powerful women address the gender pay gap

We don’t know why it’s happening, but we’re trying to find out.


Kellie Garrett, MC

Why hasn’t the communication industry, and business in general, gone further with achieving gender equity? That’s what Kellie Garrett, MC, among Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence in 2012, will explore when she leads a high-powered panel of successful, influential women including Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld; Lesley Jane Seymour, editor-in-chief of More magazine; and Shahnaz Taplin, co-founder and board chair of Invest in Muslim Women, at the IABC Foundation Luncheon.

The IABC Research Foundation first investigated the issue with the “Velvet Ghetto” study published in 1986, and revisited the research twice in the past 30 years. The results were consistent: Women in the communication industry continue to be paid less than men for doing comparable work. That finding was confirmed most recently by the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) when their State of the Profession survey revealed an average gender pay gap of more than £12,000 in favor of men. The results also exposed that in higher level positions—men, on average, are being paid more than women, even when doing the same job.

Aside from the communication field in particular, there’s a significant gap in the number of women versus men in leadership positions, though the results vary by factors like country and industry. Grant Thornton’s just released International Business report on women in business had this to say: “We have been tracking the proportion of women in senior management since 2004 and the research this year finds that the proportion of women in the most senior roles has stagnated at 24 percent—the same as the result in 2012, 2009 and 2007.”

purple_play_buttonIs part of the problem a lack of awareness or are we deliberately closing our eyes to a pervasive  problem? What’s it going to take to close this gap? Kellie Garrett explores some of these questions with Natasha Nicholson, executive editor of the IABC magazine Communication World, in the latest episode of CW Radio.