The Power of Data Podcast
Episode 21: Closing the Gap
Chair: Catherine Mayer, Co-Founder of the Women’s Equality Party
Panelists: Richard Pugh, Chief Data Scientist, Mango Solutions
Clare Gorman, VP of Global Operations, Aveva
Claire Barnett, Executive Director, UN Women UK
Caroline Pankhurst, Founder, Be Braver
Belinda Djamson, Data & Analytics Lead, Accenture
Introduction: Louise Cavanagh, Communications Director, Dun & Bradstreet
Welcome to a special episode of The Power of Data. Data often provides much needed transparency, visibility and evidence to drive change. Gender Pay Gap reporting is just one example of how data can be used for good; to raise awareness of issues that need addressing. Today's episode features an interesting debate on the issue of gender diversity in the data industry and the wider workplace, following the publication of a new sector survey by Data Tech Analytics and their partner Mango Solutions. I'm delighted to hand over to Catherine Mayer, co-founder of the Women's Equality Party, who will be chairing the panel and introducing the team to get to get us started. Over to you, Catherine.
Hello, we are at Women in Data. We'll be looking at some new research that's come out on the experiences of data scientists, and we'll be discussing the gender pay gap and also more generally the gender gap. I'm going to introduce the panelists. My name is Catherine Mayer, I'm the co-founder of the Women's Equality Party. I am also the executive director of the think tank, Date and Future. And I have recently co-founded a festival called Primadonna Festival, which is a festival of brilliant books, ideas, creativity. So, joining us today, I'm going to start with the man. That may seem an odd thing to do, but he is going to be introducing the research, so I'm going to come to him first. He is Richard Pugh, chief data scientist for Mango Solutions. Also, around the table we have Clare Gorman, the vice president global operations for Aveva, and another Claire, Claire Barnett, executive director of UN Women UK. We also have Caroline Pankhurst, the founder of Be Braver and we have Belinda Djamson, data and analytics management lead at Accenture.
Richard, let me go to you and hear a little about this research that you've done into the experiences of data scientists, both in terms of the gender pay gap and their employment, but also more generally, their observations on what does and doesn't work in the workplace.
Sure. Thanks, Catherine. So, the data I'm going to talk about is from the first skill survey carried out by Women in Data in partnership with Mango Solutions and Data Tech. So, we, we sent a survey out to practicing data scientists, and we had around 900 responses, a large majority of which were women. The challenges I suppose, is that we you know, we have some findings, we have some evidence, but absolutely the fundamental conclusion is more needs to be done in this area. I'll talk through some of the high-level findings to give you a sense of what we saw.
The first thing is that overwhelmingly people talked about being very, very satisfied by their job. So, people are obviously very happy in the data world. It's a great profession. You know, it's a really good industry to be in right now, which is great to see. And yet despite this, of the people that responded to the survey, just over half the people were talking about leaving their role in the next or looking to leave the role in the next year. So we can expect some, some heavy attrition in the industry. And I think this this sort of conflict between everyone is very satisfied, but they're also looking to leave, is more about the opportunity and the evolving industry right now. And I perhaps than anything else?
Other things that we found in the survey, so part of the survey was around salaries. So what salary do you earn? We had some good data on this. There was some, fair bit of spurious data, there was people who didn't quite complete, you know, didn't want to complete that question. I think there were a couple of things we can see. Predominantly the people who answered the survey where people up to and around 35 years old. So that's men and women to about the age of 35. And so from the data, we can see, from a salary perspective, the salaries are pretty equal up to the age of 35, for the respondents that we, you know, the responses we had back. Beyond 35, the picture isn't so clear. The findings that we see right now is there is certainly some evidence to suggest there’s a divergence after 35, with a widening gap in salaries. However, at the same time, we're talking about an area where we really don't have a lot of data because, like I said, the majority of people who answered the survey were 35 or under. So, if you like it from a famous statistician’s talk error for a second, you know, you can see some evidence, but the error is so wide, that we can't make draw conclusions, unfortunately. And, and I think that goes to show that actually, that's a particular area where absolutely more research is needed, and it's going to be conducted in 2020.
Other findings from the survey, at a very high level. We talked a little bit about the role of data in people's organisations, and what was really stifling the ability to move data to the heart of business. And, and the findings there were really around, the major findings were around things like siloed ways of working. So actually data being very much contained to certain departments and disconnect maybe from the broader business. But then we also saw a lot of people talk about bureaucracy and resistance to change being barriers to actually having the data be more widespread or this way of work and the most widespread throughout an organisation. So, so those are the findings and I think that what it shows is that firstly, it's great to see this data. And it certainly shows shines a light on where we absolutely need more research. And I think Women in Data is exactly the organisation with the right remit, the right access to data and the right access to skills to enable to actually answer these questions properly. And I look forward to that next year.
Thank you, that's very helpful. And obviously that finding about the divergence by age is something this is much more widely mirrored across pretty much every industry. I would like to frame this discussion as being something that is around gaps of different kinds. So you know, when you're talking about silos, you have information gaps there, because you have the barriers between job functions, you have the data not flowing between those different parts of companies. And then when you're looking at gender, in the workplace, and more widely, you're looking at a whole series of gaps, and the intricacies of, of what makes up those gaps are something that we can explore today. And in this discussion, hopefully, we can come up with some solutions to this. But before we do that, I'd like to go back to the other panelists and ask them to introduce themselves more fully, and do so in terms of how those gaps have played out, perhaps in their own lives or what really makes them passionate about closing those gaps, because everyone here is in some way working to do that. I'm going to go to Caroline first.
Thank you, Catherine. Well, I'm really passionate about closing the gender pay gap, which is why I'm really excited to be joining this panel. I come at it from two perspectives. One of them is from my own personal experience. And one of it obviously, is from the work that I do with women in business, working with everybody from CEOs all the way up to future talent coming into businesses. And actually, I just want to say as well, it comes as no surprise to me that the data starts to drop off in the report that Women in Data have done around the 35 mark, because that's what we see across all sectors and across all industries. And I think we all probably know that the main reason for that is because that is the age when women start having to take on caring responsibilities, whether that be caring for their own families or caring for their parents. And it's at this point that we start seeing women's progress in jobs. It's where we start having the conversations to do with flexible working. And so that side of the report comes as no surprise to me. I think from my own personal experience as a single mom, childcare and flexible working is something that's really, really important for me. And I know how my own career development before I founded my own company was impeded by that. I think also on the plus side of it, you find a lot of women do start leaving companies to set up their own businesses because the flexibility that they need can't be provided by the organisations that they're working in. I suppose that answers my personal experience of it. The only other thing that I maybe want to add as well, is that I think that there are a lot of experiences that women have before they actually do have children, whether that be to do with going through IVF, whether that might be to do with having miscarriages, whether it might be to do with other factors that might impact it and I think all of these things need to be considered when we look more broadly about solutions that we might put in place to help support and progress women within the business environment,
I think that's an extremely useful insight and something will take forward in this discussion as indeed, talking about being a single parent because a lot of the solutions that we might discuss, like shared parental leave don't apply to single parents. You know, we mustn't always assume that all families look the same or that all circumstances are the same. Now we have two Claire's I'm going to refer to you as Claire B and Clare G. Claire B.
Claire B 09:35
Yes. So Hello, I'm Claire Barnett. I'm the executive director of UN Women, UK. UN Women is the United Nations entity for gender equality. We're also the only global organisation that works in every level in every sphere of society, from grassroots to government to achieve this. And data is incredibly relevant to the UN for a number of reasons. So the first point, I think, is that to understand people, which is fundamentally our job when we're diagnosing all sorts of solutions, we have to understand data. But also, I think otherwise, there's a risk that we're defining solutions that only include some voices. And I think we are going through a paradigm shift in the UN, but also in wider society where all sorts of people's voices are being given platforms more easily using different ways and empowered using technology. And so the UN's data repository, which includes our pay gap measurement is the Sustainable Development Goals. So those are following the Millennium Development Goals, those were the set of goals that we set out and said, “here's all the indicators that we think we need to achieve by 2030”, which is now scarily 10 years away. And we are, as we all know, very far away from achieving some of those within 10 years. So one of our challenges is how can we make sure that all of the data that we're using to measure where we are and what the issues are is really representative? And that applies for the pay gap as much as anything else. But also I think there's a challenge, which is I think sometimes we look at some of the issues like the pay gap as sort of Western data issues versus the rest of the world. And I think that us versus them mentality is quite unhelpful. I think the gender pay gap is, actually applies to women everywhere in the world, and where women are extremely underpaid, and in very low paid environments, that's where the pinch really happens when you're close to the bread line. So I would really like to open up the discussion about the gender pay gap into you know, it's a matter of empathy versus sympathy, right? So if we're discussing what are the solutions here, those can work elsewhere in the world where actually the problems are much more severe, and the pay gap is much greater. So I'd like to tap into, I guess, that idea, that idea of a shared sisterhood that says when we're measuring this, how can we make sure that all women's voices are really included in the discussion,
Again, an extremely useful way of looking at this, and I think that notion that the kind of unintentional division into kind of Western otherwise, or industrialized north and otherwise, is also closely allied to a kind of ‘what-aboutery’ that I encounter whenever pretty much I'm on Twitter, where people see me as an activist working for gender equality focused on the UK and they go but what about Saudi Arabia? As if these things are not absolutely intrinsically linked? And as if you can't care about all of it at the same time, or indeed recognize those links. You also talked about sisterhood and why women would see that kinship but I think, not trying to direct Clare G too much in her answer here, but one of the other answers about this, of course, is that it's not just something that would benefit women, but, but everyone. So Claire, when you give your answer, perhaps you could also take in that idea.
Clare G 12:56
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think about where I'm at just in terms of my stage of life. I think, you know, similar to Caroline, I'm a mom, I'm just back at work following maternity leave. I've also changed role. So yes, having had 14 months out, so to speak, and do my number one job, I'm now back into the throes of a busy job. And, you know, I'm now a company as well, that's very different from my last company. So my previous company was almost 80% female, and I've swung completely the other way now. So yes, we're sisterhood. It's crucially important, there's not a huge amount of opportunity to drive that currently. That doesn't mean I can't going forward. But I think that the pay gap is critical, especially when you look at the data and you look at the drop off post 35. I'm north of that I'm returning from maternity leave, and you can see all the challenges that come with that. But I'm also very aware that the, you know, the challenges I have are not solely as a female, they’re as a parent. And I think that, you know, typical stereotypes that may have, you know, driven us to the situation we're in now, where we do have these gender pay gaps, actually equally affect men. You know, I think the being a parent, there's an there's an expectation of the caregiver role being a very female, stereotypically female role. And that's not actually true. The world is evolving. You know, should parental rights be very equal? Yes, I think they should. I think that would help close, partly some of the pay gap issues that we have certainly the north of 35 pay gap issues that we have. And I think it's just taken away some of those, you know, somewhat outdated stereotypes, that are still prevalent when you look at the statistics. You know, we haven't been able to eliminate them, no matter how long we've published, you know, pay gaps, and, and were ahead of some other countries in doing that, right. You know, the US is certainly behind so I'm not just talking about, you know, Western culture, you know, the more developed world. Some of the countries that have a lot less, you know, benefits that are very equal. I mean, the US have basically no maternity policy, you know, men and men, women are pretty equal there because they don't have that. But they do have a pay gap. You know, so I don't think that evens out everything.
They even have pay gaps in professions that are very feminized professions. I looked at the nursing pay gap in the States, it's terrible. There's a huge pay gap between male nurses and female nurses.
Clare G 15:30
Yeah. And so I think there are, you know, it goes, it goes beyond just typical male- female roles. There's lots of cultural things that we need to look at, to really help to, to drive the change and be the change that we want to see. I mean, if I just step back from me as a parent and talk about me as a leader in a business, that's a very successful business. Do I want to create as much diversity as possible within my own team because, you know, not least because all of the data tells you that actually, the more diverse the team is, the more effective it is, the better results you get, you know, the more successful businesses are. So I think it says both, you know, from a personal aspect and what I think's right and you know, still wanting to have a career as a mother, but then also looking at business results as a business leader and saying you get better business results with more diversity in your team.
Exactly. And, and diversity that is diversity that challenges as opposed to being a kind of cosmetic diversity. It's, it's really about possibly feeling uncomfortable, but being having your thoughts challenge. Belinda, can I come to you on your responses to this.
Right, so I'm Belinda and I lead data management for the UK and Ireland in Accenture. I'm a principal director in the business so I'm one of the leadership team in Accenture and I am actually, I work in data so a lot of my work revolves around helping clients leverage their data as an asset. That across industries. I get called in when clients either realize they have a problem with the data or they want to be competitive or what has been in the last 18 months or so is around businesses becoming data driven businesses because everybody realizes, you know, it affects the bottom line. New Business Models are what is competitive in the marketplace. So that's when I get called in.
Now in my industry, and I, I work in Accenture, I've worked in the Big Four consultancies. I started life working in Lehman Brothers, which is financial services, 2006, that was largely male dominated. Very, very strong male characters and female characters that weren't necessarily either obvious are actually female role models that I could almost identify with, but I'll come to that. To working in Microsoft, that was a technology company that was extremely different, where you could actually have, I felt I could, there was a breath of fresh air because actually, I felt the diversity was much better. To work in, in a big full where that point you made about cosmetic diversity, where, you know, everybody was coming around to the point of “Oh, actually, we need to look diverse”. And, you know, we need to show that we have, you know, women and we're empowering women to have in kind of targets set, which are, you know, “by 2020 we want to have 50% women in the boardroom”.
But the way I look at all of this is actually that if we want to change it, I'm not first of all surprised that there is a gap. I deal with the gap all the time, not just from a personal perspective, but also from looking at some of my team, looking at colleagues I've worked with, and I feel like for us to make the change, we almost have to go back to the cultural aspects of you know, being a woman, being a woman leader or being a woman in a workplace in a business, what does that look like? How does progression look like? How do we, as women, ask for the things that we want? So I'll give an example, in one of the Big Four, when we were thinking about diversity and actually leadership, and we had all sorts of research that we essentially initiated to understand what is driving this, you know, you start off with the analyst where you have new graduates and there are lots of women. I mean, the diversity is, is great from a gender perspective. And then as it goes up, the progression, you see, it's like we're dropping off and we wanted to understand, but we also wanted to understand why some of the women who were there with the male counterparts as analyst as they grow up, they don't seem to be progressing as fast. And one of the things that we found out was, in the way we, as a leadership team, we actually looked for promotion, the qualities that we would promote. So you know, you have a panel of people interviewing, a man comes in and really did, they would exaggerative if not, and I'm not saying all men, but they exaggerate their qualities and the things they have done. And you can have the same woman who has done maybe two times as much but tends to be very modest in really seeing that. And in a, you know, you're looking for a leader that can go and talk to your clients and when the best businesses. So the bias was towards, you know, the man that is standing there and really saying all the big things he done when he hasn't done it.
Can I just ask, do you think that you would have responded as well to the women coming in and doing that, because there's also research that says that women are penalized for being assertive for asserting themselves?
I'm going to come to that. So we said that actually rather than, we could do it two ways. We could get the leadership team to understand that women are – we’re naturally different. And we can also teach the women to be more, to be less modest about their achievements. And to not only be conservative in terms of, you know, I'm going for this job because I've done it before, versus I'm going for this job because I'm 50% qualified, but I can still do it and come up that assertiveness, right? So we said, well, why do we tackle it both ways. There was improvement, but actually, those things don't change. But when it comes to remuneration, so it comes to the end where you know, in consulting, it's performance based, as in most businesses, but male colleagues would come and ask for what they want. I mean, I have people coming to me saying, I really need my bonus or my pay to go up because I'm, I'm taking a new mortgage, right? Or my wife works in HR and tells me that actually, my pay is much less so in this next year, I expect that with all the performance. I have never had a woman in my team ask me that. So for us to change it, I'm happy that we're highlighting it. Because, for me, I'm passionate because I want women to understand that actually, we can ask for what we want. And we don't have to, by understanding that there is a gap, I didn't have to go and say, “well, do you pay me more than the man?” But I need to show you that actually, I am capable, I have achieved and therefore I have every right to be paid as much, right. And it's going to take time to change that cultural characteristic, but also all the way back to when we have girls in STEM and girls that are growing up. We need to start making sure that the cultural change is happening right. So as a woman, as a girl coming up ask for the things you want. You come into the business, nobody else's better than you, ask more for what you want. And Clare [Clare G], you made a good point, because when I returned from maternity leave after having my second. what I found was what I would call it unconscious bias. I was in a bid for consulting. And the first bias was, “oh, now Belinda’s come back, I'm sure you want to take an internal role for consulting. You either do client facing or back office, or because you know, I'm sure you would want to have time”. And I had come back after probably eight months. And I wasn't looking for an internal role. I just wanted to get back into work. There was a time where I got an opportunity to go and work for Goldman Sachs in New York, and I was based in London, and my boss bless him, he thought he was being helpful. “Belinda's just had a baby, of course, she doesn’t want that role”. And when I'm having the conversations like “Belinda, would you even have considered the role?” And I felt really insulted because he was being helpful. But there was the bias right there that says “Belinda's, because I've had a baby and have come back somehow. I don't want to go ahead anymore”. And not a lot of women would find that, like, we might, but we don't talk about it, right. And those biases affect even things like performance achievement, which is very related to how you’re paid.
I think I want to pull together some of this, but I was also gonna say, although you've all been incredibly well behaved in taking the turns as I allocated them, I'd like to invite the women here, and also Richard to interrupt. But particularly, I mean, remember, well behaved women never made history or whatever the phrase is. But to pull together some of what we're already talking about, in describing the gender pay gap, we're already describing all these different elements to it. And in order to solve it, we have to address all of those elements. The party I co- founded, the Women's Equality Party has seven core objectives, because we felt that you cannot even begin to talk about achieving equality unless you address all of these things at once. So we are looking at equal representation, equal pay, shared responsibilities in caregiving in parenting. We're looking at education, we're looking at media, we're looking at violence against women and girls, and we're looking at health, because all of those things feed together and just on gender pay. That's what you've all been articulating in different ways. So I mean, just as one small example of this, how can you improve the uptake in shared parental leave in those families where it is a man and a woman, when the gender pay gap means that most men will tell you that they can't afford to take their paternity leave. So that's, you know, just one small example of how this fits together. So I'd like to throw this back to you at what elements you've already articulated some of them, what elements do you see there that are interacting, and what solutions do you see for fixing them? Personally, I think government policies are hugely important, which is why I do what I do. I'd like to see universal childcare, I'd like to see the shared parental leave that's properly invested. I'd like to, you know, see so many different things. But I also think organisations can do a lot to in the absence of that government work.
Clare G 26:26
Yeah, I completely agree in it is just going back to what Belinda said. And I agree, and in all honesty, I don't think I've been a shrinking violet in terms of asking for things when I think I've earned them, the difference is I feel like I have to earn them first before I asked for them. You know, I become the role I want to be before I've been given the title, the salary, all the things that go with it, and I prove myself and then I feel that I have to do that and then I've got the right to ask. But I think it shouldn't about the right to ask or encouraging women, the it's just not within their nature to ask, and actually it’s not within some men's nature to ask, let's be clear, it's just some people are better at asking for what they want than others. And what has to change is actually the way organisations set up things like performance reviews, and truly run on a meritocracy. You know, where it's not who shouts the loudest? Or who's friends with whom, you know, because that's quite often the case. You know, you build your network, first, you make sure everyone in the room is going to agree it before your boss goes and tells them they want to give you a pay rise. You know, should that be the way the world has to work? It currently is. But what are we doing about changing the way organisations go about this stuff, you know, educating, you know, when you're a senior leader in a business, how is it your job to make sure that you are treating everyone fairly, knowing full well that you have the people that will always ask and the people that will never ask. And do we have to change, you know, 80% of the population of the female population that won't ask or do we have to change the way the, you know organisations work today?
Claire B 28:05
Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think I do say challenge the idea that maybe we need to tell women to be less modest. I think we talk a lot about changing the narrative. But I think in real terms, we do need to provide different notions of leadership and different linguistic routes to talk about talent at work, and how we can move up. I think, in terms of how we express our goals and qualifications, we probably think about what does the leader look like and then make decisions based on that. And then we, you know, we're just reinforcing bias as computers are, so I think women face a lot of penalties, right. So it's not only the pay gap, but also maternity gap, the savings gap, the pension gap. And I think another penalty that we face is being told that maybe the ways in which we've molded to society to fit a meritocratic or what we perceive as you know, these are the good things that I can do to do well here will actually now those behaviors are our fault, and that's what's keeping us back. So I think we need to be really aware of that. And honestly, I think we're in the age of activism, right. So I won't name any names, but in the past week, I think we've seen in the regulatory environment, that organisations that don't make big changes early, it becomes a commercial risk pretty quickly. So I think this is about, let's make bold commitments to change. And even if those are wrong from organisations, just do something, you know, even if it's for the PR benefits, just make a big commitment,
That self-interest point, you know, again, the research that I know Clare G was looking at earlier, research that shows that teams what was it the teams – what was it – teams with more women on them?
Clare G 29:38
Yeah, it was sales teams in particular, it was a study by Xactly, sales teams led by females achieve their target significantly more than those led by males, yet, I think there was, you know, a 26% gap between male and female leaders in terms of volume. And then there was a something like a 22% gap in terms of salary between males and females in sales roles. And so, inevitably, it was shown that, you know, on the whole generalistic per the study, you know, females leading sales teams hit their target more often, they were more successful when the target is a sales number.
So the argument for organisations which and for economies and for politicians, all of them are so clear. I mean, there's this huge, those huge studies done by Credit Suisse that show that companies that and organisations that have more women in decision making roles are more profitable. So the arguments are really clear. So the question is, how do we make the moves in the right direction? And again, what can be done by individuals within the systems and what can be done by organisations?
I think if I just look at the various places I've been and I look back at my career actually coming through the ranks. What has really changed the way I think about things, has been sometimes just seeing different women, role models, just different roles, all different people, in fact, women and men, and really looking at okay, so in this business or in this industry that I want to succeed in, what does success look like? Am I comfortable with it? Is it natural, the way I behave? And if it's not, does it mean I won't be successful?
So in other words, those part of what Clare was saying before about not necessarily going with the prevalent idea of what leadership looks like, not necessarily thinking you have to wear a suit and make a lot of noise and be in a big corner office with the deep shagpile.
Definitely, definitely. But I think what we have to be very pragmatic. I mean, my 30-year-old self was an activist and I'm not going to be this person and I've seen this role model. And yes, all of the successful partners in this organisation look this way. And I'm not that way. But as I've grown up through, I've realized that actually, sometimes the best way to make a difference is to be pragmatic and get to the place where you actually have the opportunity to be the change you want to be. Because to your point and Clare I agree with you so much. When you say, “well, is it that we, we shouldn't teach women to be less modest, but actually, I want to be in an organisation or I want to be in an, in a society where we don't have a pay gap. How do we get there from where we are now?” We have to make all of the changes and some of those changes are uncomfortable, like you know, setting cosmetic gaps. I can tell you that as a woman and I work really hard, it is very unfortunate. We just had a round of promotions where you hear rumors and murmurs. “Oh, that woman just got promoted. Because she's a woman, what has she done to be promoted?” And I'm sat there, and my only point is, while I don't care there, so for every woman that was promoted, because she's a woman, there are so many women that went promoted because they were women. So I am taking that and I'm going to push for women to be promoted until it evens out. For me now there isn't a balance. So whatever we do to close that gap, I'm happy with it. And that means sometimes um, is the uncomfortable truth. If someone ever said to me, “you got promoted because you're a woman or you're black”, it hurts, but actually, I'll take it. I will set a women’s conference in financial services once and a partner in a law firm, she said, “well, you know, I want to be equal and I wanted to be a partner. But I don't want to be a partner just because I'm a woman. I want to be promoted because I think I would give up that promotion if I was only promoted because I was a woman”. Promotion comes with the pay, right? So I think women we have to be comfortable that sometimes times to make the changes, it will be a little uncomfortable, but we will get there. And when we get there and it starts to even out, we can then do it, you know, the way that makes us comfortable.
I'm going to swear because there's an expression that a friend of mine uses that makes me laugh a lot. She's on the board of quite a lot of big companies. And I suggested she get this T shirt made because she says, “put me on your board because I'm a woman. Keep me there because I'm f******* brilliant”. But, you know, I think my feeling about this is that there's a kind of unofficial quotas worldwide in favor of men, you know, in this country in favor of white men. And so you know, you want to do something to dent that, Caroline, I could see you wanted to come in here.
Yeah I did. I just wanted to because there's been a bit of talk about should women be more confident should they be asking for more in the workplace? I kind of want to, because of the work that I do coaching, the psychology work that I do work and we were in on a on a on a one to one basis and really kind of getting under their skin of some of the things that are holding some of them back or the barriers that they're facing or whatever. I kind of want to situate the woman actually in society, not just in the workplace. And, you know, this notion that we talk about that, you know, boys are brought up to be brave, and women are brought up to be perfect. And we've talked around the notion that men will put themselves forward or get asked for promotion on their potential but for, for women, it will be they won't put themselves forward because of their they'll think that they can't take every, every box so they might not get asked because they'll get judged on their performance.
So I think that that kind of area works in two spaces for me. One we need to help support and give more women more confidence in knowing their own value and recognizing their own worth and recognizing their rights to ask for more. And that comes from awareness that can come from negotiation train, and it can come from various other things. But we also have to recognize that some women aren't going to be there. And then we need to lift those women up. We need to be encouraging them to go for promotions, we need to be pushing them for performance, we need to be asking them in their performance review. “When you said we the team did this, what was your role in that? Or was that and I?” We know the guys will be saying we, is the woman saying the guys – I’ve got it the other way around. Yeah, but it's about, it's about surfacing and being aware of all of these things and looking at how can we help people from an individual perspective and also what can we do more structurally and organisationally, being cognizant of the fact that there are messages out there all over the place, from the day that you're born, that are putting you in a certain box or making you view yourself in a certain way as a woman. And we're sitting around this table now, as well, I'm looking at four very successful women here who have had the opportunity in life to develop a sense of confidence in themselves. But there are loads of women out there that don't have that. And that partly the reason why I've set on my business because all ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things. And I want to see as many women as possible succeeding because there are so many barriers, but let's not ignore the fact that those barriers are there. And they may not necessarily actually be even cognizant of half of them.
Belinda said something earlier that is related to this. And I found interesting, which is she talked about kind of playing the game in order to get ahead in order to make a difference. And that is certainly something I recognize from my own past, but I've actually come to question whether in playing the game I instead helped to perpetuate a system that wasn't very good for women. And I think it's really difficult. That's not meant as a criticism for you at all. But I just wondered if anybody had any views on that?
I suppose that's for me why it's quite exciting to be here at Women in Data because I think we are in a community here where Women in Data has the remit has the access to data, and has an understanding of how data can be used and misused at times when we talk, we talk about gender pay gap. And I think that that, you know, there's a real difficulty around some of that data. An example of an organisation with a perfect gender pay gap is Manchester United Football Club, you know, big large organisation, they have a pay gap of famous of zero, the gender pay gap is perfect, right? How do they do that? Well, the report the median salaries, but you know, if they report their mean salaries, it's a horrifically different situation and do their female football players -
They hardly employ any women anyway, do they?
Claire B 38:45
They have some very senior women around the board table, which I think helps, but you’re right.
Exactly right. I can be manipulated. And that’s part of the problem? I’ll give you an example right. We did a project once with a company, big financial organisation, who we're incredibly proud of their inclusive policies, particularly on hiring and so on. And they said, “come in, we'll do a project. And the whole idea was we'll do this project, an independent consultancy. So, Mango come in, we’ll prove there is no, you know, gender bias in your organisation, big bit of PR, everyone's happy”. I won’t name the organisation for what I'm about to say. But essentially, what happened is they were kind of true in that absolutely, I think, what Belinda said at the start, you know, for the first, first years, the initial salaries were absolutely spot on that you could completely see that, but we actually built like a holistic model across the organisation to, to kind of model people's paths to an organisation. So then you can explore some of these barriers through data, right. And of course, what we found out was actually, you know, whilst the salary and the opportunity, you know, was it was absolutely the same. You get to a certain point where people drop off, women drop off and drop off drop off, and I end up in a boardroom of exclusively white blokes talking about what the issue is, and the irony of them not quite getting what I'm saying was kind of like, was quite a difficult conversation. So there's an example. So, I think we have to frame the question really carefully. And I think this is where Women in Data can play a role I think surveys like this, which are for me, there's two issues. One is, is there a structural equality issue around pay in the data world? Right, we need to call that out with it absolutely is. But I think more than that, for me is, it's more about the barriers for actually progression in this industry. And I think Women in Data are perfectly placed to explore these questions. And we need more research and more evidence around this. And not just in the data world, but I think Women in Data can play a role to actually look at these mechanisms throughout other industries as well. So, I think that's why I'm really excited about the plans next year to actually do more analysis in this area. And actually, because data can shine a light on this stuff, and it's only when you shine a light, you can really start talking about some of this stuff. For me.
Caroline's point about the situation in wider society, though is also important. So, you can look at all of the workplace structural barriers, but you need also to look more broadly still,
Yeah. And I also feel it would be remiss of me with an audience full of people that focus and specialize in data, channeling my Caroline credo here for a minute, not to talk more broadly about gaps in data for gender outside of pay. So, I sit on the steering committee for GM for Women, and we've got an ambition by 2028 to make Manchester the best city for gender equality.
2028. So the –
[Jokingly] What are you doing here?
Because it's the centenary of universal suffrage, that’s why we set it as that date. So, we started off looking across culture, safety, participation, education, and work was kind of like how we defined it at first. And we've got local councils, we've got the universities, we've got a real good mix of people around, but we wanted to develop a scorecard initially to go “what is the situation as to where we are today? How do we measure how we're shifting the dial on all the various things that we do over the next 10 years?” And it was absolutely mind blowing, to see how little data we could actually get our hands on that had any gender skew on it. And it kind of begs the question about how all these decisions are getting made, that can be looking to actively do things to sort the gender equality issues across a whole range of sectors if the data doesn't even exist there in the first place. So, this isn't just about pay.
And there's a really interesting thing around that data gap, which is people assume that all you need to do is fill it in, and then that will make change. First of all, there are reasons people have for not being visible. And it's an assumption of privilege to think that everybody actually wants to be visible. There are lots of people who don't want to be and have good reason not to be. But then the second assumption is the one that if you see these things more clearly, you will then have more of an impetus for change. Now, obviously gender pay gap reporting has created some impetus for change. The Me-Too movement, which in a way is filling in a data gap, has created some impetus for change. But there's a really long way between seeing those things and the actual change. Which is why I was also sort of asking people here for their solutions. How do we turbocharge this?
Clare G 43:27
I think there's two parts to the, the solutions. One is now if we just take gender pay gap in its very simplest forms and say, you know, companies of a certain sides have to publish their results. And in all honesty, I've read a, you know, a bunch of these from different companies when we've been, you know, comparing ourselves within industry and so on and so forth. And I think the underlying thing within most of the reports is, actually the reason why we have a gender pay gap for whatever company and often if you just sit back and look it, it’s an excuse. It's a “we don't have a gender pay gap really, the numbers say we do by it's just at the top, but it's just here”.
And I think we have to change the but to an and. “Yes, we have a gender pay gap. And specifically, this is what we're doing to address it and not the same five things that everyone says they're going to do, which is we'll make sure we have females on every pipeline for every role”. That's nice. But is that really changing anything? So, I think it's, although we're reporting on it, you know, there's a long way between, like, say reporting and action, and I think we have to, there has to be some real administration. And whilst we've discussed, I'm not a huge fan of quotas in their purest form, I think there has to be something that's mandated that when you are reporting and there are gaps that are sizable that a “yes, but it's just here”, which is just saying yes, but we don't have a problem or we don't really perceive it to be a problem is not acceptable anymore.
Claire B 45:01
So, I think for me, there's kind of three things that I tend talk about in this space. I think the first one is empathy. We talked about how change is uncomfortable. And I think we do need to recognize that if we're asking people to give up some of their liberties and privilege, that is actually a material loss and cognitively, we humans feel lost more than we feel gain. So, I think the first one is realizing that that is difficult for people, but it has to happen. I think the second is moving from this “what-aboutism” to inclusion.
One of the things I don't think we've had time to touch on is that now that we've got the gender pay reporting in place, we're working with the government on looking at ethnicity pay reporting, which is really important, but it's just another vertical. And people don't exist in verticals. They are three dimensional humans and you know, however many minorities apply to you, they just compound the issue. So, we do need to look at that in terms of splitting, slicing and dicing it properly. I think the exciting thing about that is that we're talking to a room full and then a podcast listener. So, on limited audience full of people who are data experts. And I think the third thing has to be working together. So, I think my message and I recognize that UN Women needs to step up and have a role in this as well and do better. But, is we need to work together, please do not reinvent the wheel, if you're looking at collecting data, sifting it doing surveys, you know, there are people in this room and listening who are experts on collecting behavioral data, which is going to be key, and then looking at where the gaps are in the pipeline. So, I think it's got to be critical that across sectors, we're saying with things like the Me-Too Movement, where does the data go from here? And how do we really measure that to diagnose, change and create solutions?
I'd like to make five points speaking to people as an individual and people as a leader. The first one I would encourage everybody to do is, is listen to what's being said in this podcast and question whether or not you really know your own value and whether or not you really know your own worth because I would bet pretty much everybody listening to this is worth more than they think they are. So do your homework, know your value. I would say find a tribe, whether you get an advocate whether you get a group of cheerleaders, whether you create one, but I think the power of networks and the power of having other women to help support you, and encourage you and hold a mirror up and make you realize how awesome you are, is really important. Same as my third point, really, which is it's your responsibility to lift up other women as well. If we recognize the fact that we are not the best people in the world, some of us are advocating for ourselves, advocate for somebody else. My fourth point is get angry. There is a gender pay gap, there shouldn't be one. Take action, try and do something about it. Everybody can do something. You don't have to be influencing policy. You can be spotting the person in your team and encouraging them to go for a promotion. And the final point that I want to make, the fifth one, is that which is it's not somebody else's responsibility. It's all of our responsibility and we can all do something no matter how small or large that is. So, they're my five closing points, basically get angry and do something.
That is awesome, Caroline, I couldn't have agreed more. For me, I think what's important, being somebody that works in data, and being a woman and a mother and ticking some of these boxes for inclusion, I think the solution really that resonates with me and that I act on every day and I try to aspire to do more of is to see the women that to the various points that are made those that might want to be visible and those that are not probably inclined to be visible and encourage them anyway. I am a huge advocate for women in all spheres. And that's just because of my personal experience of coming through and not being as confident, coming from attending she had been very low confidence and seeing role models. People that I thought were awesome, that would tell me “you're awesome too.”
Same as what you've said, this is your value, recognize it go forward, and seeing the change and the impacts they had, and so trying to make sure that I pay that forward, and really been an advocate for women. To the point I made earlier, I think there is a gap. And I don't think the gap is just with pay, I think is recognition, I think it’s with performance, I think it’s just lifting women up for us to get to the point where it's a level and it's balanced. And then we can think about what is wrong, whatever. So I, in my little corner, I try to do everything I possibly can. And sometimes that is going back. I’m an ambassador for STEM and that means that when I speak to girls, I try to as much as I possibly can, try to show them all of the things that they can possibly do and not to restrict themselves because really it starts from there in my opinion. It starts from there where, you know, girls can think “I can be anything I want to be, I can work in data, I don't have to just restrict myself to this point”, because then we're opening it all up. But also, it's making women feel proud of other women. I, every time I see women like the women I’m sat around, I'm inspired and I'm, I feel like yes, I want to shout more. These are like super achieving women in leadership positions. If we all decide to pay it forward, they'll be, you know, times how many ever in, I don't know, five years, 10 years. And so, as we get into those positions, we lift other people up, we try to correct those gaps. And I think we are making a difference and will make even a bigger difference if we do that.
I guess from my perspective to some I've got one point and one recommendation potentially. What I guess, obviously, I'm a data scientist, so I can speak about data. I think Women in Data is an excellent community, and so we've got a real opportunity to go and I suppose have a healthy cynicism around data which I think is needed, sometimes. You know, we talked about gender pay gap. If you think about the BBC, for example, they've got a gender pay gap that is published that is really miniscule, and you go, “oh, great”, but then when you actually publish the data on, on the high profile presenters, you go, “that's a huge issue here”. So, the challenge for me is that I worry, we end up potentially asking the wrong question, and then look in the wrong way sometimes. I think we need to ask questions, executive minister there about things like, you know, “what's the likelihood in your organisation that you can get promoted? And is there a bias across gender, race, etc.” In that, you know, what, you know, those kind of pieces for me and so I'd hate for someone to go look to look at a company and say, oh, gender bias, you know, gender pay gap zero. There's no issue here. But actually, we need to ask the right questions. And I think we can do that. And so one, perhaps call to action for me is, you know, one of the ways that the BBC thing came about was because obviously the data became publicly available. Now, not every company today is legislated to go and make the Equal Pay Data available right? And therefore, you look at agenda gap and you go, “is that okay? Is it not?” You just don't know. But internally, we in this community know, we're all have data roles in organisations, why don't we go into the Equal Pay question with our HR departments when we go and get our own internal data and see where our organisations have structural barriers around promotion, opportunity or recognition across the business. And that's something that we have the skills and the data and the remit to do in our own organisations as a starting point.
So, I think huge amounts of food for thought there. Belinda very helpfully brought up the actual employment segregation there, which is something we hadn't touched on where certain roles are paid more than others. And where that starts so early on in in schools with boys being channeled towards STEM and girls away from it. I think you know, that that point Richard’s just made about data being only so helpful and asking the right questions is one that we really need. And I think all of you have talked in terms of the need to take action. The need for activism, whatever that looks like whether it's labeled activism or not. But I think Caroline summed it up very nicely on her five-point plan of get angry and then make a difference. You know, the one way to stop yourself being angry, it's to make that difference. So, thank you all very much.
Thank you. Thanks.