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My Gripe about Davos

Same thing as last year.

We see lots of camera-ready women:  Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg or African women draped in bright colors.  We hear lots of rhetoric about the “gender gap,” which the people at Davos seem to think is an abstraction that applies only to developing countries.

But the major employers (that is, the guys at Davos) contribute mightily to the worldwide gender gap by paying women 60% to 70% a year less than men for the same work (WEF’s own figures).  This practice is widespread enough that it is measurable in the aggregate and at the nation level.

I snorted with the irony of these guys complaining about their time crunches and bandwidth today.  These same folks foster a sweatshop environment for their professional level employees, which falls more heavily on their female staff.  These men think they have trouble making decisions, so they eliminate things like picking out their own clothes.  They should think about what it’s like to make the big decisions and also have to sign permission slips, pick up diapers, and make dentist’s appointments (plus drive to and pay for same)–all the while worrying that some jerk at the office is going to notice you have a family.

If the guys at Davos really want to close the gender gap, they should start by looking at the practices in their own companies.

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