This week I had the privilege of speaking with 7 year olds in Bristol as part of Enterprise week. Of all the meetings and events I had planned, this one was one I was looking forward to most.
There was something warm and fuzzy about that 2 PM slot on a Tuesday afternoon. And then reality hit and the pressure of 30 pairs of eyes piercing me through gave me unexpected heart palpitations.
We spoke about what it means to be an entrepreneur and how my work is around understanding the gender pay gap. The children were astounded. There is a gender pay gap? Why? Here are the three lessons I’ve learned from them while we discussed the issue.
- Never underestimate the power of a 7 year old to change a discussion about the gender pay gap into a conversation about fish and chips.
- In roles that are visible, gender stereotypes are alive and kicking. (ie. Very few girls thought that when they grow up they could be working in construction.)
- Men don’t allow women to work in construction because a brick could hit them on the head.
- It is unfair that some roles are valued less while they contribute a lot (ie. mums)
- The gender pay gap could be closed through a wrestling game, and may the best one win.
- Girls can build airplanes, because when more people – boys and girls – think about something together, they come up with a much better ideas.
- These young 7 year olds will live in a world with no pay gap. They will not allow it.
When I walked in, I was terrified. When I walked out (besides being thankful for still being alive) I was hopeful. The future is bright – the future has no pay gap.
With Gapsquare, we lead the development of technologies that can help close the gender pay gap.
Dr. Zara Nanu