Looking the Problem in the Eye: The Gender Gap

When women are direct, people consider them bossy. When women avoid eye contact, they are deemed submissive and evasive. As Dr. Audrey Nelson explains, “When we try to interpret sex differences in eye contact and gazing behavior there seem to be competing themes of affiliation/approachability on the one hand and dominance/power on the other.” How we use eye contact to prescribe gender speaks to a bigger issue — the gender gap in general.

The fact of the matter is that there is a long-standing issue based on how we divide and assign roles based on sex and how that debilitates nearly half the world’s population, women. Amazons Watch magazine recently featured the Top 100 Most Influential Women in Emerging Economies to Watch in 2018, and while most of the issue focuses on women inciting change, the Publisher’s Note from Furo Giami reminds readers that this change is necessary because there’s a problem. Much to my dismay, the glass ceiling lives on into 2018.

The first step in rectifying this disparity required us to acknowledge it though. So, around the world, we have seen walkouts like the ones held in Iceland and France, where women left 14 percent earlier in their day to symbolize the average 14 percent less women receives in wages. The 2017 Women’s March that took place internationally became a chance for both genders to come together and stand in solidarity against the injustices many women face. My point is — people can no longer hide from the truth. The gender gap exists. Now that we see and experience firsthand this divide, we need to make an active attempt to combat it.

None of this is to say that change isn’t taking place and making an impact. Afterall, I wouldn’t do what I do if I didn’t think I could change the livelihood of rural African women. There would be no use. My story is not unlike a lot of stories because most developed and developing countries are taking active steps to change this unfortunate narrative. A few best practice “Include, but are not limited to: protecting workers from employer retaliation for discussing wages; expanding employer pay data collection efforts; implementing equal pay for work of equal value guidelines; using gender-responsive budgeting; providing credits for caregivers; and bolstering damages for victims of wage discrimination,” as Kaitlin Holmes and Danielle Corley explain in their article on the gender wage gap. And so because of women around the world and much like the one’s mentioned in Amazons Watch issue 9, she persists.

About the Author: Aisha Babangida lives in Nigeria where she works to better the African Community, specifically the lives of rural women and children. She believes in the power of education and financial inclusion as exhibited by her work with the Better Life Program and the Egwafin Microfinance Bank.