Slade Says: Gender Pay Gap? Not Here.

It makes me see red. I hope it makes you see red, too.

Last week’s Equal Pay Day briefly put the problem of the gender gap on the front burner, and having a woman as a frontrunner in the presidential race is helping to keep the issue front and center… sort of.

This is one of those issues. Some people refuse to think it’s actually a problem. And the people who know it’s a problem can’t seem to figure out how to fix it. Every so often we talk about the problem for a while. And then we turn away to the problems we think we can fix faster.

The tragedy of the gender gap is that it’s not only unfair to half the population, but bad for all of us, even for the dopes who defend it.

Where women are held back from achievement, where they are prevented from rising into positions where they can make a greater impact, where their efforts are too little recognized and rewarded, society loses some of the benefit of their skills, their imagination and their labor. We all lose.

This time it’s personal

Now, even if I did not have a young daughter, the wage gap would trouble me. Although I accept that life is not fair, I have a shockingly low tolerance for engineered unfairness.

But as it happens, I do have a brilliant nine-year-old daughter—not to mention an incredibly smart wife. The thought that either of them would have their ambitions stifled, their talents underused, their contributions unrewarded because of their gender frankly boils my blood.

I was incredibly encouraged when the president said recently that he felt the same way, wishing we could make a world where his daughters—where everyone’s daughters—could be assured a fair bite at the apple. It’s always fun to discover that POTUS sometimes worries about the same Dad stuff as you.

From my specific vantage point inside the Florida tech sphere, I get a good-news-bad-news view of the gender gap. Good news: Florida’s wage gap is one of the lowest in the nation. Bad news: Florida’s wages are pretty low across the board, so where women are being paid less than the underpaid men, they are making tragically little. More good news: The wage gap is a little better in IT overall than in many other industries. More bad news: Women are appallingly underrepresented in the IT executive suite.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not proposing we hire one gender over the other just to make numbers. I believe we should always hire the best person for the job. However, I know that the best person for the job can come from either gender. We need to make sure that women are granted the same access to these careers as men; the same access to opportunities and education. We need to make sure we aren’t turning away qualified candidates or lowering their salaries simply because of their gender.

According to a report from the Center for American Progress, as recently as two years ago nearly half of the 150 highest-earning public companies in Silicon Valley had not one female executive. Not one.

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with…

So I do what I can do. That frustrates me, because what I can do seems small in the grand scheme. Then again, if everybody just did as much, the problem would solve itself.

I make damn sure Nitro leads by example. There is no wage gap here. There never has been. There never will be. Workers in the same role with the same level of seniority get the same pay, period. And for every open position, we actively recruit women. If for some unknown reason women aren’t applying for a role, we reach out and find some. (While we’re on the subject, if you happen to be woman who’s job-hunting right now, please review the career opportunities at Nitro.)

About the author:
With more than 20 years experience in software development and strategic businesses practices, Pete Slade’s mission is to help enterprises streamline and optimize their business through technology innovation. With expertise in a range of technical operating systems, languages and databases, Slade works in concert with Nitro’s development team to offer clients superior products and services.

His experience as a technologist, talent developer and business strategist has resulted in Nitro Mobile Solutions being named “Technology Company of the Year” by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, one of the top 100 small businesses in America by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and earning position #248 on the Inc. 500 list for a three-year growth rate of 1,797 percent.

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