Our daughters are counting on us to eliminate workplace gender inequalities and the pay gap
Audi tackled gender equality and the pay gap in their 2017 Super Bowl ad.
The one-minute spot features a young girl participating in a coed downhill cart race. Narrated by her father as he watches the race, we hear him think about the inequities his daughter will face in the future and how he’ll explain it to her.
What do I tell my daughter? Do I tell her that her grandpa’s worth more than her grandma? That her dad is worth more than her mom? Do I tell her that despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets?
As he approaches the finish line to congratulate his daughter for winning the race, we hear him wishfully think…
Or maybe, I’ll be able to tell her something different.
The spot ends with Audi’s commitment to fighting the gender wage gap, stating, “Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work.”
The ad picks up on the discussion Bud Light started in its humorous ad earlier this year. Their spot featured comedians Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer addressing gender pay equity, noting “women don’t get paid as much as men and that is wrong.”
I believe both ads are clear examples of companies choosing to demonstrate their transparency on gender equity. This is a bold step. My question is, why aren’t more companies making the same claim? This type of leadership is critical for corporate America. And the follow-on discussions are essential to driving solutions. (And Audi is also keenly aware that women buy or influence 70 percent of car purchases in this country and have an affinity for brands that represent their values).
Not surprisingly, the Audi spot is receiving criticism for being for anti-male, propaganda and supporting a myth. I urge you to take another look. I see the “Daughter” spot as being pro-father and setting the stage for much-needed conversations about gender in the workplace and at home.
Let’s take a quick look at the facts:
- The pay gap real. Every CEO has the information on pay equity and pipeline demographics. And as long as women are the only one’s talking about these issues there is no reason to change. Men need to stand-up regarding pay equity and advancing women—they owe it to their working spouses and their daughters and all women to demand equitable opportunity.
- Women do earn less. Women make on average $.79 cents to men for the same work. This has a compounding effect on families and the economy of $430,000’s over the lifetime of a woman’s career.
- Millennial women aren’t immune to the pay gap. While millennial women earn roughly 90% of what men their age do for doing the same job. The ratio widens as they age and the chances for promotion dwindle.
- Men have a responsibility. And (by-and-large) men run the companies. Senior leadership in most companies is still 85 percent men. It is incumbent on men, (not just father of daughters) to take an active role to create meaningful change.
- Pinkwashing. Audi is receiving blowback that they are pink-washing the topic. During the past year, Audi has demonstrated its’ commitment to progress and equality for all. It is one over 100 companies that signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge (which is longer on the White House website). They recognize that just 12 percent of Audi of America senior management is female and they are working to increase the number of women in the workforce at all levels.
What’s a dad to do?
If you happened to be watching the Super Bowl with your family, did you notice your own daughter’s reaction? I can tell you women and girls are celebrating the ad.
As the father of a daughter, do you realize the responsibility you have to advocate for women in the workplace ― that you can help bring about the much-needed change for your daughters and working spouses?
I believe up to 30 percent of men in the workplace want to help but don’t know what to do on a daily basis. To help other fathers take meaningful action, I created the Father of a Daughter Initiative. It’s a simple opt-in program. Men commit to doing a minimum of one of 10 things (hopefully more) to advance women.
Dads, our role includes advocating for our daughters at all stages of their lives. We raised strong daughters. Whether it was sports or the arts, we supported our daughters. We ensured they went to great schools. But when they graduate and are only offered $.79 for the same job that our sons are offered $1.00 we choose to do nothing. This is why men need to stand up today. We owe it to our daughters.
To make good on the narrator’s wish to be able to tell his daughter something different ― that there is equal pay for equal work — fathers need to actively address and resolve workplace inequities for her – and all children.
This post was originally posted on the Huffington Post.
Jeffery Tobias Halter is a corporate gender strategist. The country’s leading expert on engaging men to advance women, Jeffery is the President of YWomen, a strategic consulting company. A highly sought-after speaker and thought-leader, Jeffery is a two-time TEDx speaker and frequently talks at industry and corporate events.