What it will take to close the gender pay gap: A conversation with Sallie Krawcheck and Matt Wallaert
Let’s get one thing straight — women will not be equal until we are financially equal. Thanks to activists and entrepreneurs like Sallie Krawcheck and Matt Wallaert, this message was loud and clear for attendees at our last Changemaker Experience in New York City. Listening to Sallie and Matt describe their efforts to close the gender pay and investment gaps with personal anecdotes of set-backs and a-ha moments, we digested the data and left more committed than ever to financial equity.
Think differently about closing the gap.
By some measures, it will take more than 100 years to close the gender pay gap. If we do not address gender diversity and discrimination in the workplace on the reg, we will not make progress. Cue “courageous micro-conversations” AKA Sallie’s advice for stopping gender biases: “Steve, I loved that idea, but I liked it better when Rhonda brought it up weeks ago.” Sallie encouraged us to leverage our political capital in the workplace to raise awareness of gender bias, and if you don’t yet have the capital to spare in a public forum, Sallie suggested we help other women grow with quick constructive feedback.
The world that exists versus The world that you want to exist
Tools like GetRaised.com are successful in the world that exists, but they’ll stop short of changing the culture of inequity. Matt noted that we often put the burden to fix the problem on the disadvantaged groups most affected by the problem. For Matt, being a male ally means fighting homophily and asking yourself the hard question–am I really listening? Move over work hubby, we’re now on the lookout for gender confidants.
Every important decision about your career is made when you’re not in the room
After being ousted from her C-suite job, Sallie said that she thanked her colleagues for the opportunity, and then she asked for feedback. What did she hear across the board? “Imagine how much better you would be if you had sponsors.” Both Sallie and Matt stressed the importance of having someone on the inside fighting for you and cited research that finds male bosses with daughters are often the best advocates for women.
Reject the Queen Bee
Having more women at the top works in your favor. It’s a numbers game. Sallie advised us to reject the queen bee mentality, stressing that when more women get ahead, more people think women are capable of being leaders.
Sometimes you pull a Susan J Fowler and get out
Women are more likely to stay in jobs that don’t make them happy, Matt explained. To navigate through tough situations, Sallie referenced her own experiences with gender discrimination in which she overcame obstacles with facts, humor, and giving people the benefit of the doubt, something she calls the “Most Respectful Interpretation” (MRI) perspective. However, in times when the trifecta falls short, she cautioned us to not blame ourselves and advised that sometimes the only way up is out.
It’s not just a marketing problem, it’s a product problem
Years ago, someone mentioned to Sallie the need for an investing platform for women. Her response,“that’s sexist.” But after deconstructing the “group think” mentality, and the fact that the financial industry is by men for men (ahem: a charging bull on Wall Street), Sallie realized that women have different needs as investors: we live longer, make less, and aren’t driven to invest solely for financial gains, but to better our lives. Sallie said she believes she was put on earth to close the gender investing gap. And we’re putting our money on her.
Thank you to our room full of financial feminists: Sallie, Matt, our fantastic hosts at JP Morgan, and our NYC Changemaker Ambassadors.