For Australian women, across the board there is a higher percentage of university graduates than men, and yet still they earn less money and hold fewer executive positions. The gender pay gap may have narrowed since 1980, but it has remained stubbornly stable for more than two decades.
Women earn 82% of the salary of their male counterparts. The inference has always been that they are supposed to consider themselves extraordinarily lucky, and accept that 12% drop like the gravitational cost of aging and the compromise of Spanx.
Neither is something a man would ever be expected to do, and all part of the corporate culture first alluded to by Canadian social scientist Elliott Jacques in his 1951 publication The Changing Culture of a Factory.
Corporate culture and societal norms are key factors in the persistence of salary deficiencies and the imbalance of upper management positions held by women. Much like Australia’s National Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008, 1972’s Equal Pay Act has essentially proven to be little more than lip service after the initial fervour and conversions wore off.
The ‘glass ceiling’ is a term coined by American management consultant and subsequent author Marilyn Loder in 1978. We didn’t even have GPS or computer viruses then; Bill Gates was 23 years old, Elvis was freshly not wearing his blue suede shoes and Bluetooth was more than two decades away.
It was the year China fully engaged in the process of globalisation, the very beginnings of economic reform that shifted focus from political ideology to economic development; and Mark Zuckerberg was minus six-years-old.
There have been incredible global, social and technological advances since Loder first recognised this ‘glass ceiling’ and still, there has been little gain in the broad, deep, and relentless pursuit for women to cease being continually stymied by their XX chromosome.
Ironically, the first lasting gift from her dad.
Although we’ve all been looking at it for 43 years, this ceiling is apparently invisible.
Certainly indivisible, in the corporate world; regardless of the happy-clappy stats invited to jump out of a cake during any Global Workplace Forum as soon as the words “Women’s Power Index” are mentioned.
However, the Dental Board of Australia reveals that 50.2% of dental practitioners across the country are women, with 55% of that figure being recent graduates.
Women are attracted to a career in dentistry because of the ethnic diversity, and greater workplace flexibility when bringing up children in comparison to other well salaried professions.
Clearly a line has been drawn along this invisible ceiling; and women dentists are smashing straight through it with Invisalign.
Maybe the Invisalign treatment, that inconspicuous process of incremental and permanent adjustment, is the graphic expression of stealthy progress being made in finally straightening out the innate crookedness of gender inequality.