I warned you that my reportage of happy news about women last week was an anomaly. Today, I'm back to my usual self—offering you news about women that's curious, annoying, and downright depressing.
1. "It's wrong on so many levels." That's what one female lawyer at Latham & Watkins says about the firm's upcoming event for female lawyers in London. (Funny, it seems just like yesterday that I questioned whether women's initiatives are useless time-suckers.)
What's the offending event at Latham's U.K. office? A master class on "creative canapé making," reports The Lawyer.
Cooking classes at a law firm sound like jolly good fun, except that this one seems aimed only at female lawyers and is sponsored by the firm's women's initiatives group. As The Lawyer notes, Latham's own Web site touts that its "women enriching business" group was “designed to promote women in business, by creating broader networks and productive business relationships, and by attracting and investing in the long-term success of women.”
Hmm, could there be a hidden logic between making canapés and business? Is Latham delivering a clever retro-progressive message—like the way to your client's heart is through his stomach? I mean, if women can't master golf and cigar smoking, maybe their best bet for developing business is to go to the kitchen and whip up some delicious treats.
2. And there's always cleaning and serving. I know you know this only too well: Women still earn a fraction of what men do. (Quick refresher: Overall, women make 77 cents for each dollar a man earns; female lawyers do a bit better, earning 78 cents for each dollar a man does.)
But did you know that there are some professions where women actually outearn men? So, what are these lofty professions? Well, they include butlers, valets, house sitters, and shoe shiners. Women who work as personal care and service workers made $1.02 for every $1 their male colleagues did in 2010, according to Bloomberg Businessweek .
3. Women might make less, but they're cooler about their salaries. I don't want to end on a totally negative note, so I'll leave you with this curiosity: Men seem more defensive about their compensation. According to a survey by FIT, a Web site of recruiting-technology company Bullhorn, "26 percent of men but just 17 percent of women say their friends would feel badly for them if they knew how much money they really earned," reports Harvard Business Review.
HBR also notes: "Not only are women less ashamed of their salaries, they also report working longer days and working more on vacation than men, and they're less likely to take a sick day under false pretenses, the survey says."
The positive spin is that women tend to be more humble, harder-working, and more reliable. But does the survey also suggest something else—that women tend to work diligently, while getting shafted on the pay front?
Photo: GE ad, circa 1950's
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