Unfortunately, women are still suffering with hangover from centuries of social convention. We're still struggling to be seen as more than a pair of boobs.
While most women fight to achieve their goals, some still set feminism back by relying on men to further their cause.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg - we need to wade through an ocean of personal and professional shit to close that cocking pay gap.
Asking for that big, fat payrise
Although none of us were shocked that there was a pay gap, I think all of us gasped at the gulf of difference. The first reaction was why don't women just charge more? The reason for that is women are their own worst enemy. We're constantly underselling ourselves, not just with rates or salaries, but in relationships and our own self-worth.
Think about it. How many times have you knowingly allowed yourself to be walked all over by partner or friend? How many times have you given another person the benefit of the doubt because you might've misunderstood or got it wrong? How many times have you kept schtum because you don't want to rock the boat or you're worried you might say something stupid or show your weaknesses?
In the workplace, how many times has a man spoken over you, undermined your decisions, lectured you like a subordinate, directed questions about your field to a man with a similar discipline or worse, circumvented you completely.
I know so many women who live with constant anxiety over not being good enough, in all aspects of their lives.
How many times have you seen a man do any of these things in the workplace? Barely ever. See, it's an ingrained, unconscious behaviour.
If you're not as lucky as I am; working with influential men who'll not only pull this up but actually be an advocate for you, you'll always be left behind.
Just like men need to learn to be more authentic and open with their emotions. Women need to learn to kick arse.
I've worked with plenty of copywriters and nearly all the men have an air of hubris over their talents, where as the women would ask for peer review or not challenge decisions in case they've made a mistake.
So the reason women don't push for higher rates is that we're too insecure to do so.
If women want to close that gap, we need to have the confidence in our abilities and value. We need to take the bull by the horns and ask our male counterparts what they're paid. And we need to never compromise.
Getting that big, fat payrise
Of course, it's not as easy as that. Your pay MUST reflect your qualifications, experience, accolades and your ability to deliver what is needed for the business.
Someone with a couple of years' experience working in SMEs, predominately writing sales messages that didn't yield high NPS scores or sales shouldn't be paid the same as someone with decades worth of experience working in FMCG, multi-national, FTSE corporations running a team, launching initiatives, installing content strategy and hitting high numbers.
We want equality, but people - regardless of gender - should be paid in accordance to their merit.
Us women, don't want to be hired because it helps hit inclusion numbers. And men shouldn't be paid above what they're worth, just because they have the balls (literally and metaphorically) to ask for it.
And men are masters at promoting themselves to people in power. And seek praise for every little thing they do, whereas women just silently get on with it. A man is as pleased as punch, proudly telling everyone that he informed facilities that there's no toilet roll. A woman would do her job, organise a team event, set up a new process and refill the fucking toilet roll herself without uttering a word to anyone, so praise is never given.
So while I applaud the BBC for blowing the gender pay gap conversation wide open by publishing its employee salaries. And while I'm right behind the females fighting for equal pay for doing the same job (reading the news is reading the news). However, it's not always as clean cut as that.
Chris Evans gets paid that much because he's on the radio every day and he has the highest listenership of all the breakfast shows because people like him. He IS the show. Claudia Winkleman is a facilitator on a show that runs a couple of times a week for about a month, that's about the celebrities taking part and dancing - her not being there, doesn't change the show or its ratings.
What that big, fat payrise means
The biggest responsibility of getting those higher rates should be that you work harder to reflect it - at least, that's how it should be.
If someone who earns the same as or more than you strolls in at 10am, takes over an hour lunch break, goes on numerous fag breaks and leaves at 4.30pm, then you need to hope they're shit-hot at their job, as this won't go unnoticed and no employer would tolerate it.
I've never watched Game of Thrones (I know, I know, I'm the only one and I'm missing out, blah, blah, blah... ), but is Emilia Clarke's character as badass as she looks?
Anyway, if you're charging the top rates, for example £400 a day, then you'll be expected to represent in meetings, put together governance documents, lead ideation sessions and consistently produce fantastic copy (you'll always get changes and even the best copywriters get negative feedback, so don't let that deflate you). And you'll be expected to put in the hours, when needed. Don't charge higher rates if you always have to leave on time every day or will need a lot of time off.
The big, fat payrise may never happen
The truth is, we may never win this battle. Women are the ones who incubate humans for nine months, which involves doctor appointments, exhaustion, illness and baby brain. Then they have to push something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of grape, with tearing and afterbirth. Then you have sleepless nights, dirty nappies, more doctor's appointments, child-minder/nursery/school runs, illness/accidents, parent's evening, school plays... you get the picture.
Motherhood will always put getting that dream career or those juicy pay checks on the back foot. As women are hard-wired to be the primary care givers. Not just for children, but elderly parents too.
So even if we're given pay parity, equal rights in the workplace, removal of the glass ceiling and we prove ourselves (after all, companies with women on the board do better), there'll always be the excuse of pregnancy and bringing up children means you can't be as committed as a man.
Men will be favoured, as they can put in the hours and seen as more reliable. Their natural bullishness will always impress those (usually men) in charge, whether it delivers or not.
So, before we start burning our bras and throwing ourselves under under race horses, let's be smart and get the pay we deserve, regardless of gender.
Believe in yourself. Believe in your ability. Believe in your tenaciousness - RCMtalks