How Much a Woman Should Earn

We can thank Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella for this post. In the blunder of blunders he inadvertently shined a light on gender inequality during an event focused on women in tech. He suggested women shouldn’t ask for raises but rather trust that the system will take care of them.

“It’s not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,” Nadella said in the interview, which was at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Phoenix. “And that, I think, might be one of the additional superpowers that quite frankly women who don’t ask for raises have.”

“Because that’s good karma,” Nadella continued. “It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust. That’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to.”

Now isn’t that special. Women may not have money to pay their bills but they have that karma thing working for them …. which is good.

To be fair, Nadella almost immediately took to social media to declare that he had misspoken, that he was wrong, that he was completely wrong, that he wasn’t clear, and he was just about anything he needed to be to make the whole thing just go away.

That he was wrong is obvious; why he was wrong isn’t so clear. Did he just misspeak or did he forget he was talking out loud and let his true thoughts go public. Oh how I wish somebody would have followed up with a question about how men should ask for a raise. I just can’t escape the feeling that his answer would have been very different.

But is he actually right?

I have compiled a list of all the reasons, yes, ALL the reasons why women should NOT be paid equally to their male counterparts. Here it is:









So, what do you think. I’m absolutely certain that’s all of them. Every one that makes sense anyway. So, it’s plain to see why women should just sit there quietly and trust the “system” that has been undervaluing them since, well, since forever.

Here’s the deal; everybody, everybody, who does the same job with the same results and with similar experience should be payed the same. The exact same! The job and how well it’s done is all that should matter. It’s time to fix this once and forever.

It can’t be that hard. If companies can’t afford to pay more than maybe men don’t get a raise until women catch up. Maybe the stockholders or owners take a hit until women are paid equally. Maybe it’s something else, but SOMETHING must change.

Here’s one thing that must change: I was talking with a friend of mine, a former CEO and CFO of a couple of fairly large companies. I asked about this topic and he said women are paid less “because their income is incremental” to the “main bread winner.” Any guesses as to the gender of the “main” bread winner?

Now my friend is a great guy and at 80 years old it’s been a while since he has influenced a business but while he’s retired his thinking in too many businesses persists. THAT MUST CHANGE!

Here’s another thing that must change: get rid of job descriptions. Replace them with Position Results Descriptions. Job descriptions are task oriented and allow a myriad of biases to enter a performance review. Position Results Descriptions are a truly performance based evaluation tool that considers only the key results areas required for the job and objectively measures, with predetermined measurements, whether or not the “result” was achieved successfully. It doesn’t allow race, age, or gender to enter into the picture. Not even subconsciously.

Fair is fair. I don’t know if there was ever a legitimate reason for women to be paid less then men but I can guarantee you there is no legitimate reason today. Karma doesn’t pay bills, equal pay for equal work does!

13 thoughts on “How Much a Woman Should Earn

    1. Thanks, this is going to be amazing. Taking some serious flak from the caveman types…. sad and ridiculous at the same time. 🙂 Even more sad it’s not surprising.

      1. Yes, I know what you mean. I’ve known and have encountered MANY ‘cave man’ types in my day. Even cared deeply for a couple! : )

        I’m still amazed at how callous some can be. They’ve obviously never had to be in the woman’s shoes before. Not that I expect any of us to know what it’s REALLY like in another persons shoes.

        Much like people have this expectation that if a person has been hit by a truck, literally or metaphorically, they should be able to just ignore the hemorrhaging and broken bones and should be able to just jump back up and carry on as if nothing happened!

        When people treat others who have spent their lives doing that and are literally ‘down’…. there’s a time where people need a hand and a heart. Not another kick in the face or knife in the heart.

        I’ve been there. I know.

        As for women in general. I’ve known many women, including myself, who’ve worked very hard for very little to show for it.

        We’re more then willing to work hard when we know it matters and with the right people.

      2. For me, it’s just a question of doing what’s right. I just don’t get the mindset that says it’s okay to undervalue 51% of society. There really is no equality until there is complete equality.

      1. Yes. Wow at at the CEO and wow to your great article. Great insight. I am saddened that in 2014, women should just wait for equality, but I loved your style of delivery.

  1. Thank for bringing this up in such an thoughtful manner. To add, I (female) am not only the main breadwinner in our family – I am the only breadwinner. We made a choice for my husband to stay home with our children because it is the right thing for our family. Just another one of the paradigm shifts that make this conversation even more relevant. Thanks again!

    1. You’re welcome Kristin. It is a different world today, it just seems that some people want to pick the new parts they like while keeping some of the old (pay disparity) they like even more.

      There are no legitimate reasons for paying women any differently than men.

      But it’s been a hoot getting comments from guys that I forgot to put the “list” in the post 🙂

  2. I saw the response you got to this link on Twitter. The only good thing I can say about people like that is that they make me appreciate people like you even more. 🙂

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