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Time To Revolt Against ‘More Work, Less Pay’

Establishing and embracing roles, inside and outside of the workplace.

Mary Kay Scully headshot
Mary Kay Scully
Mom holds her child while working from home

Coming on the heels of Women’s History Month, let’s continue the celebration of women and acknowledge the superhumans that we are. From leading the home to leading in the office, women take on many roles. Many women with families currently serve as caretakers, taxi drivers, line cooks, housekeepers and, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers, and tutors.

In a recent Forbes article, contributor Maggie Germano stated that women are eight times more likely than men to look after sick children or manage their children's schedules.

Additionally, women are heavily involved in their professional work. In fact, despite having already heavy workloads in the office, women also take on more work when asked by supervisors, clients, and colleagues. “Gender Differences in Accepting and Receiving Requests for Tasks with Low Promotability,” written by Linda Babcock, Maria P. Recalde, Lise Vesterlund and Laurie Weingart, shows that where people worked in groups composed of men and women, women were 48% more likely to volunteer than their male counterparts, thus taking on more work. 


Furthermore, when it comes to salary, 60% of women surveyed said they have never negotiated their salary, compared to 48% of men surveyed, according to a salary and compensation statistics on the impact of COVID-19 report by Randstad. Simply put, women are taking on more work and responsibilities, getting paid less and accepting it as the ‘norm.’

Paths And Priorities

For some women, their priorities and what they value may look different compared to others in their office. Home life versus work life may be more of a focus, which could partially explain why only 25% of women are represented in C-suite positions. Possibly, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are acknowledging that work and life aren’t really in balance-- one usually takes priority over the other. In fact, according to McKinsey & Company’s recent “Women in the Workplace” study, due to the COVID 19 crisis, 1 in 4 women are contemplating downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce.

Additionally, it is entirely possible that some women may enjoy the extra time with their family or freedom while not being in a physical office space, leading to greater satisfaction in their current roles and the desire to shy away from promotions or changes in roles as it could potentially take away from that time with their families.

Other women may view it through a different lens and see it as an opportunity to put themselves out there for another role, or progress in their career.

While there is a difference between roles at home and roles at work, it is important to note that one is not better than the other. It simply depends on the individual and what makes the most sense for them.

How To Make Your Priorities A Reality

Once you’ve figured out what’s most important to you, where do you start? The first step is to determine your end goal. For example, get comfortable advocating for yourself and making your interests known as opportunities arise. You are your biggest advocate so make sure you’re being clear about your goals and interests. This will serve you well when important conversations or opportunities present themselves, and you are top of mind among those in the room.

Also, you’ve heard it before, but seek out a diverse set of mentors from any area of your life. Mentors provide an outlet for discussions of life both inside and outside of the office, and also can advise and assist by recommending concrete steps you can take to help you achieve your goals. Whatever is on your plate personally or professionally, there is likely someone who has already been there, understands your situation and can share valuable advice about navigating life and work.

While we’re on the topic of goals, be sure to set goals and develop a roadmap to achieve them. If you’ve set a professional goal for yourself, look into taking relevant classes, pursuing certifications, getting more involved within the company, or seeking leadership or strategic planning opportunities. If there’s a personal goal you’d like to achieve, be mindful of how your work could help or hinder what you’ve set for yourself and make a plan that sets you up for success.

No matter which career path you decide to take, approach it with a plan that helps you reach your goals, whatever they may be. Use the mentors, peers, supervisors, and family members within your network to inspire you to reach those goals and set an example for the next generation of women in the workforce.

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine April 2021 issue.
Mary Kay Scully headshot
Mary Kay Scully

Mary Kay Scully is the Director of Customer Education at Enact, leading the development of the company’s customer education curriculum. The statements in this article are solely her opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of Enact or its management. 

Published on
May 31, 2021
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