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THE LEN LESSER REPORT  

THE LEN LESSER REPORT

 

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EQUAL PAY DAY FOR EQUAL WORK.

Tuesday April 12th, was "Equal Pay Day" in the United States - the day that each year when on average when a womenís earnings from the year before catch up to a manís.

Full time working women in the States are paid 79% of what men earn. So, women would have to work more then one hundred extra days a year to earn the same amount of money as their fellow male workers. Women of colour, aboriginals and visible ethnic diversity face even a greater disparity then their white sisters

The National Womenís Law Center has found that the wage gap costs the average American women $430,000 over her lifetime.

I suspect that Canadian women also still do not have equality of pay, position and chance of advancement as their brothers in the work force. The vast majority of our executives who control our publicly traded companies are men.

To my knowledge our five Canadian commercial banks have males only designation for their Presidents, Certified Financial Officers who report to their board of directors.

The board members are for the most part are made up of white "old stock" males in their three piece blue suits. They may reluctantly tolerate women but do not encourage their participation in the boardrooms of the nation. The male executives earn eight figure salaries along with stock options with very few women in positions of authority. Okay, women are selected to Human Resources positions but are not included in the final big decision making processes.

The ship of commerce/industry moves very slowly; very hard for entrenched males to see the inequity in the board rooms in Canada.

The Financial Post "Narrowing the Financial Post 100" report had an interesting report for us to study. "Over the past three decades womenís participation in the Canadian workforce has more then doubled, to approximately 47%. Women now earn over half of all Canadian university degrees and 35% of the Masters in Business Administration (MBAís) granted in 2011 were women".

The level of progress among Canadian women, in just a few decades is very impressive, with women achieving unprecedented success in a variety of settings and roles including medicine, law and politics. Yet, the representation of women on boards has not followed suit.

Consider for a moment the following statistics which speaks volumes in the disparity among the decision makers in Canadaís top publicly traded companies.

Canadian women have 10.3% of seats of Canadian boards. 0.00% of board seats on the Financial Post 500 Companies.

Here is the reason why: Inertia in leadership networks is a key institutional obstacle to womenís advancement positions. The Canadian Board Diversity Council report of the FP 500 boards states that 75% of board directors thought that their boards were diverse - despite the facts that indicated other wise.

Underlying reason for low female representation include: a lack of focus on presenting talented female candidates by executive search firms, lack of executive-level commitment to gender diversity and predominately male leadership networks that tend to choose candidates for the boards that are like unto themselves. Often times it is not what you know but who you know that makes the difference in executive rank levels of employment.

According to Forbes magazine, "the majority of women have limited access to leadership networks and high-level mentors, which can restrict their opportunities to gain a wide range of critical work experience for senior decision-making roles."

What it abundantly clear is that the current pool of talented women in the work force with excellent business skills, experience and education exceeds their representation at the highest levels.

It is good for Canadian business to promote more women to Canadian boards if we want to succeed in the new world of commerce.

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeauís answer to the question of why he opted for gender equality in his new Federal Cabinet was oh so simple: " Because itís 2015."

Womenís rightful place in a just society is long overdue; Canadians should not be defined by their sexual orientation/race, or colour, but rather by their character.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com