ON THE RIGHT: Pay equality levels the playing field
THERE ARE GLOBAL ISSUES that need to be addressed and one of them in many countries is pay parity, equal pay for equal work. I think it’s important that people are paid for the work they do and that means that people should be paid equitably.
I think sometimes that even if there are not major problems but there are just minor problems, it’s good to remind everybody that it doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman, it doesn’t matter what race you are, if you are doing the same work you should be paid equally, and I think it’s a good message to get out to people.
I think that there are two issues. One is legislating to give people guidelines, what is fair and reasonable, the second part is truly educating managers to understand that even though we all don’t look alike, even though we come from different backgrounds and we have different experiences, we should all be paid for the work we do.
There are a number of things that get accomplished. Women may do it a little bit differently than men do it, but as long as you get the work done, as long as you are doing a good job, there is no set prescription as to how you have to do it. But if you meet your targets and you meet your goals, everyone should be paid equally.
I think that some of that does go back to moral persuasion. Some of it is explaining to people that we don’t differentiate by how you did you work, but you pay people based on what they get done.
Sometimes I think it’s a matter of being able to recognise talent and when you think that there is a certain way to do something and someone does it differently, you may not think that they are accomplishing the same amount of work. I think sometimes you have to be much more open-minded and much more willing to see things differently.
I have a Masters in business administration and many of the people, when I was coming into the Federal workforce, had only dealt with men and they really didn’t understand how to deal with women. They didn’t understand what women were capable of, and as you moved through the ranks it was very difficult to be accepted as a female manager because you were different from everybody else.
I think that you really have to be open-minded and accept people for the skills they bring to the job. I think sometimes you have to focus on how do you get people to see things more broadly.
The other thing is, when you are not making the same amount of money as your counterparts, it has an impact on morale if you are aware of it. In the long run it also impacts everything else in your life. For example, your retirement is based on the salary you are making so your retirement benefits will be less than your male counterparts. Other benefits will all be impacted based on your salary so I think that there is a negative impact that carries on for a very long period of time.
United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Linda S. Taglialatela, is a seasoned human resources practitioner.
She previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Human Resources overseeing the Department of State’s Civil Service human resources management programme.