As we reach the completion of the analysis of the 2019 Women’s Sat Nav to Success research survey*, I’ve had to pause to help my daughter pack her life up to go off to start university. Opening her wardrobe to select what to take revealed a number of branded t-shirts that are far too big for her.
With 3 years of annual data in the bag now, we have found a worrying trend – the contribution-to-value gap* is widening to 22.2%, with now only 47.1% of women reporting that their contributions are consistently valued.
You may wonder how people can self-report the extent to which their contributions are valued.
Real evidence of people’s perception of others’ value is communicated through their micro-behaviours as well as their more obvious decisions – whose contributions they attend to, remember, trust, attribute correctly, seek to support or to challenge, are all communicated (mainly unconsciously) even if only through the smallest non-verbal communications.
So we clock them, process them and weigh up their implications. Cumulatively, these can affect our view of our capability and potential, and therefore what we can consider as routes forward and when we can consider them.
We’ve all experienced the situation where we make a suggestion in a meeting and no one picks it up until it comes out of the mouth of someone who is valued more; someone who is expected to have the wherewithal to make such a suggestion credibly.
But back to the t-shirts.
My 4 As at ‘A’ Level daughter (yep, Maths, Physics, Computer Science and Spanish) has an affinity with sailing and had the opportunity to join the CCF (Combined Cadet Force). This is the official Navy, RAF and Army ‘club’ operated in some secondary schools that provides unbelievable opportunities to learn and experience some really exciting stuff on courses that are massively subsidised – we’re talking about such things as 10 days yacht sailing across or along The Channel for £50. So, my daughter grabbed every chance and, by 16 years and 3 months old, qualified as a ‘Day Skipper’. That means qualified to be fully responsible for taking a yacht out with a crew: navigating, sailing, and mooring etc. during daylight hours. Awesome.
Many of these Navy sailing courses and all the races (such as the Small Ships Race) concluded with the presentation of t-shirts branded with the CCF / Royal Navy emblem and the event logo.
Not a single event provided a single t-shirt in a girl’s size.
Courses designed to attract teenagers into the employment of these organisations when they leave education. Courses representing a vast investment in sailing vessels; trains, planes and buses to get to and fro; food; kit; accommodation; and instructors.
But hey girls, we’re not thinking about you really, and we’re not going to stretch our budgets that teeny bit further to make you feel recognised and rewarded for your hard work and commitment. You will never be able to wear those items with pride, like your male counterparts.
I’ll take them to the charity shop tomorrow. No need to wash them, they’ve never been worn.
*Contact me if you want to order a copy of this year’s Women’s Sat Nav to Success research survey report or want to book a presentation of the insights and implications for successfully and swiftly delivering sustainable change, or if you want to understand more about the cost to your organisation of the contribution-to-value gap.