Maybe your salary is not your fault

“What’s up?” Victor looked at Manda, surprised about his colleague’s uncharacteristic frown.

She sat down heavily, even though she was a small woman.

“I just had my yearly salary talk. Every time I feel like I am being cheated, and I wonder if I am getting less because I am a woman.”

“Why would you be getting less? You are great at what you do.” He sat down opposite to her.
“Ever heard about the salary gap between men and women? Why would I be an exception?”
“Well, I wouldn’t care about statistics. Just make sure you ask for more. For as much as you are worth. Women should stand up for themselves. Be tougher.”
She scuffed.
“Remember the time you borrowed my car and drove it into a ditch?”
He grimaced.
“How can I possibly forget? You keep reminding me. I am telling you, there was something wrong with the steering wheel.”
“I know.”
“You know? You knew? All this time ...”
She stood up, arms crossed over her chest.
“But you know what, instead of fixing the problem, I expect everyone who drives my car to adapt to it.”
He was about to say something, but she was faster:
“You know, just be tough enough to steer it anyway.”

Iceland is rolling out the world’s toughest equal pay legislation. Prime minister Katrin Jakosdottir says that telling women they “just have to ask for more” is not the solution.
“You can’t place all responsibility for a structural change on the individual.”
Next time you tell a woman she “should” ask for more or stand up for herself, think about how you can be part of the needed structural change. 

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