Are Compensation And Hearing Connected?

I first saw this Punch cartoon in the 1980’s. Yet in her recent NY Times article, “Speaking While Female,” Sheryl Sandberg tells us what women already know from direct experience: that even today, organizations continue to muffle women’s voices in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

The fact that organizations pay for talent and then silence it absolutely dumbfounds me. Why would you not want to get every bit of value from your salary dollars? But then it occurred to me – maybe organizations are doing just that. After all, women are paid just 78¢ on every dollar paid to a man, and maybe that has relational consequences as well as financial ones. For if a salary is a valuation of someone’s worth, then why would we want to listen to the person who’s 22% less valuable?

I know that the road to true equity – where no one group is inherently advantaged or disadvantaged – is a long and complicated one. But I wonder whether compensation parity might actually help shift the way we listen to women. If we paid women what we paid men, might we pay similar attention to them as well? And wouldn’t that go a long way to helping women bridge the confidence gap?  

What’s your own sense of this?  Do you think that if organizations’ checkbooks were as open to women as to men, that their minds and ears might follow suit – even a little?