Published on November 22, 2016 | by Brandon Vieira Photography by Katie Purdy0
Women in Business: Paving the way for equality
The Women in Business Society (WIBS) at the University of Guelph-Humber is striving for a change. A change in which women and men are not only seen as equals, but also paid as equals.
“We want to give female students the tools and the confidence to go out into the business world and aim for high-power positions,” Nikki Sandhu, president of the WIBS said. “The more we see high powered women in the business world, the more likely the gender wage gap will no longer be an issue”
According to Statistics Canada, in 2016 women earn an average of 73.5 cents for every dollar a man makes doing the exact same job.
Third-year business student Shavangi Kalra doesn’t understand why the gender wage gap is still a problem that women face in 2016.
“Women are performing just as good, if not better in the business world than a lot of their male counterparts. We’re doing the exact same thing they are doing, so why should we be paid less?” Kalra said.
Business professor and human resources professional, Lynn McAuliffe said the gap really starts to show when women decide to become mothers.
“They [mothers] get less opportunities given to them and get paid less because employers think they’re not going to contribute as much to the workforce due to the fact that they have children to take care of,” McAuliffe said.
The society has connected students with women who have achieved success in the industry after facing years of adversity such as Mira Sirotic, the executive vice president of Global Business Trading Company Inc.
“The most powerful way to combat the gender wage gap is to educate the next generation of women in business by showing them what previous generations have had to overcome to be successful,” vice president of activities Rizu Poudyal said.
Poudyal said that talking to successful female business professionals like her professor, Patricia Peel, has shown her that she will face obstacles in the business world but there are many ways to overcome them.
Sandhu said the society will be launching a mentorship program so members can meet with business women to ask questions.
Ultimately McAuliffe and the WIBS want female business students to know that they have a voice and that in order to be successful they have to use that voice and say what they want.
However, according to McAuliffe, that does not mean women have to change who they are and act like men in order to find success.
“Women have different things to offer in the workforce and they are just as equally valuable as what men have to contribute,” McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe believes that men are an equally important part of the conversation and vital in ending the issue of the gender wage gap.
“It’s not an us versus. them, men vs. women issue,” McAuliffe said. “It’s about all of us working together to ensure that everybody has an equal opportunity to succeed.”