I read two recent studies about women in the workforce. One study demonstrated that women are a lot more realistic about how well they do on their job than men are. The other one proved that women were less likely to “self promote” than men were.
Having been in this business since 1973 and personally placed more than 11,000 candidates and interviewed more than 100,000 candidates, I’m convinced that, for the most part, women work harder than men. This is absolutely an anecdotal observation. I have tried to find studies that prove it and beyond a few in the scientific verticals, there don’t seem to be any broad, general proofs.
But I know from experience that women have to work harder than men in order to do the same basic job. I think there are two reasons for this. The first one is the fact that, unfortunately, there is an underlying hidden, ingrained, subtle assumption that women aren’t really as good as men in most business environments. Instinctively, women have to over perform in order to be recognized on the same level as men. They simply have to work harder. And when they do, it really shows.
Secondly, men simply have bigger egos than women do. This of course is great for fighting tigers and lions and battles in war. And in the business world having a healthy ego is imperative. But that’s quite different than a big ego. It is the “my dad is bigger than your dad” syndrome that simply doesn’t enter into a female psyche. Men have to live up to this image of “I know what I’m doing and don’t need to prove it.” Women don’t have to worry about proving anything except that they are better than what you think they are. So, they have to work harder.
Now put this in the equation. About two-thirds of the 23.5 million working women with children under 18 worked full time in 2018. Working mothers make up a significant part of the labor force, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all employed women. Raising kids is the hardest job in the whole world. There is nothing in business that compares to the challenges and difficulties that raising children poses. I think we really have a tendency to forget this in the business world. So, many, many, many women raise children and still perform well… better than men…in their job.
It seems to me, and again, this is anecdotal, since 47% of the working population is female, when a woman under performs it seems to be more pronounced. It seems that when a male under performs it has nothing to do with his gender. It may be subconscious, but when a woman under performs, her being a woman is a part of her underperforming identity.
The wage gap between women and men has a lot to do with the “mommy track” that most women have to be diverted from their jobs and careers to have and raise children. But even taking into account all kinds of different factors, the wage gap cannot be really explained. It might just be discrimination.
Life isn’t fair and there may not be any justice in this world. And maybe the reasons for all of these issues don’t matter. I still believe that women have to work harder than men.