What does degree attainment mean for Gender Parity in the Workplace?


What does degree attainment mean for Gender Parity in the Workplace?
By Jiten Patel (2016)




There was a very interesting article in the Guardian newspaper yesterday, 12th May 2016, which was had the following headline: 

University gender gap a national scandal, says thinktank

The article highlights the fact that women are far outperforming men at 1st Degree level (the full article can be found at: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/may/12/university-gender-gap-scandal-thinktank-men?CMP=share_btn_tw ) and this was also highlight by David Cameron when the Social Mobility Advisory Group was set up.  Apparently, it is scandalous that men are not doing as well as women at University.

However, given that women are doing better than men in gaining academic qualifications, what is holding back their progression in the workplace?  When men were off fighting wars, it was women who kept the economy on track, filling the roles that men had made vacant as a result of conscription into the armed forces.  Yet, in spite of some 65 years of equality legislation women are still likely to be paid anything from 11%-22% than men.

The AAUW (American Association for University Women) recently reported that, "the pay gap has barely budged in a decade. At the current rate, the gap won’t close for more than 100 years." 
Sometimes, when we can understand the causes of these issues, we are in a much stronger position to rectify them.  However, there has to be a desire to, and then a push, to make that happen.  

Unconscious bias works in a number of ways to jeopardise this because, to put it extremely simply, it is activated by the Amygdala (which, in a nutshell, is responsible for our self-preservation).  This is a historical situation that comes about as a result of our conditioning which is often passed down through generations and reinforced by the mass media.  I believe that awareness is the first step. The second step is to then not act into our pre-conditioning arising from beliefs, values and attitudes.

This and much more is discussed in my forthcoming book, Demystifying Diversity, written with my friend and professional associate, Gamiel Yafai.

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