Ch 03: The Care Gap Miscellaneous

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that Gap.”

The Post-pandemic University and the caring Gap by Gabriela Saldanha

Six Word story:

“Michael Jackson said make that change.”


Gabriela Saldanha makes a great argument for both men and women in the modern era.  Not all families are run by women.  There are plenty of men who do quite a bit around the house and still maintain a full-time job.  Yours truly is one of those brave men who does not mind getting dirty in the kitchen and elsewhere.  My wife is also the bread winner in the household.  There are many nights in the week I have gone to work, come home, made dinner and cleaned up while my wife works straight through it all in our home office.  I understand the time constraints life can put on one’s career.  This is where the non-carers need to be a bit more compassionate.

Society has changed so much in such a short period of time.  The pandemic has shown weakness in us all as well as strength.  I’m certain there are a good amount of men out there with sick wives who now understand how hard it is to maintain a full-time job and a household at the same time.  With any luck this revelation alone will work to increase the pay and prestige of women and members of BME groups in the workplace.

As a person who has held leadership position, I have always remained mindful of the women on my team.  Most of them at the time of my leadership duties were moms and wives.  I knew from some of the men that I worked with that women in certain cultures are expected to perform all of the household duties regardless of the day they may have had.  I found this remarkable.  When I came home and told my wife she said, “Don’t even think about it.  I didn’t make the kids by myself and I certainly did make this house by myself or dirty all the laundry I wash.” As previously mentioned, my wife is the bread winner in the home.  As such, my schedule is a bit lighter than hers and I assume all of the tasks that I can to balance the load.

The idea of working from home now puts everyone on a level playing field.  When a person goes to the office, everyone around that person is aware of how much or how little the person is actually working.  Remote business and remote learning are clear cut indicators of workload progress.  The work is either done and submitted or it’s not.  The company my wife works for has seen this firsthand.  There are many male executives in her firm who were deemed to be great for business.  Working remotely has shown that not to be true.  Companies are now starting to see this and reorganizing staff to maximize the potential of everyone.  The non-carers are slowly being pushed out.  But that doesn’t mean another good ole boy won’t fill the role.  But what’s going on with remote business and remote learning certainly does separate the wheat from the chaff.

Ms. Saldanha said, “Closing the carers pay gap will require what is often described as a ‘culture change’, meaning it will require people to change their thinking and that, as we know, takes generations.”  Of all the things the other said, this was the only idea I disagree with.  My wife works for KPMG.  They are the largest accounting firm in the world.  I can assure you they have more laws and regulations protecting all employees from any and all types of discrimination.  She is a Director for Human Resource marketing.  I have seen the outreach done to BME groups.  I can also assure you from conversations with my wife that it is no longer taking generations for change to come.  Change certainly doesn’t happen overnight, but because facts speak for themselves and working from home forces students and employees to produce something, those non-carers who got by on the skin of their seats are facing a certain amount of difficulty.  My wife mentions every day how many non-carers are brought to HR or are fired or are moved out of their previous positions into ones more suitable to them.  My wife is in the wings for a promotion because the man they promoted ahead of her has revealed himself to be a waste of time.  He doesn’t know the things he should know.  This identification didn’t take generations, it only took a few months.

The Post-pandemic University has shown one thing that time just might be the side of equality.  I can hear on the phone when my wife is in a meeting.  All the men who overwork are overworking twice as much to show that they are still great for business.  However, when women like my wife step in and accomplish the task in a shorter amount of time with better results new opportunities open up.  All of this sounds great but it does not change the fact that men will always be paid a bit higher than women.  Again I speak from first-hand experience:  When my wife received her last promotion, she knew the man leaving was paid at a higher rate than what was being offered.  The non-carers in the company said they were reducing the salary for that position to save money and more jobs down the road.  “If that was the case, why didn’t anyone reduce his salary they way the company reduced other’s salaries in the past?” I asked.  Still asking.  My wife still doesn’t know.  But we do.   

One reply on ““Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that Gap.””

It’s really interesting to hear about how work from home is affecting your wife’s workplace. You make a great point about how remote work can expose which workers are productive vs. which ones are good at looking productive without actually contributing. I’m glad to hear that your wife’s company is starting to recognize the valuable contributions made by carers, and I hope other employers follow suit. Despite this progress, it’s really frustrating to hear your wife’s first hand experience with the gender pay gap; it’s clear we still have some ways to go before carers are truly treated equally in the workplace.

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