Following the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the internet has been flooded with complaints about a comment made by Microsoft’s CEO. Satya Nadella was taking part in a question and answer session when he made the somewhat brazen comment about the gender pay gap:
“It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,” Nadella told the predominantly female audience.
Despite his inarticulate blunder, which he swiftly apologised for, the comment may well have inadvertently done more good than harm, by bringing the discussion back into the public eye. And not just in the news and online, either; it even had our Loose Women discussing their experiences when it came to broaching the question:
“Have you ever asked for a pay rise?” Ruth Langsford asked.
“No, never in my entire life,” Judy Finnigan said. “I would find it absolutely impossible.”
Jane Moore explained to the other women how she mustered up the courage to raise the subject:
“It may surprise people to learn that I’m really wussy when it comes to asking for a pay rise. I’m very feisty in other areas of my work, but I worked in a male-dominated environment. I can remember my husband – I’m married to a born haggler – was like ‘What do you mean you’ve never asked for pay rise?’
She went on to tell her fellow Loose Women how he coached her at the breakfast table one morning. He suggested that she told her boss how much she enjoys working there and feels as though she’s a valuable member of the team, in the hope that her boss would agree.
“‘Then that’s your killer punch!’ he said. ‘You go: well my pay doesn’t reflect that.’
I rehearsed it as if I was in a play and I was feeling nauseous… I got my pay rise.”
While admiring Jane’s tenacity, Ruth, said she’d be a bit more hesitant:
“I think that’s a great tactic, but I’m worried I’d go ‘Yes, I’m a valued member of the team, I know you love me working here, I know you adore me on Loose Women-’ and they’d go ‘Well we don’t actually, so…’”
Jane suggests it could be an issue linked to our habits.
Coleen Nolan, as a terrible haggler (by her own admission), would support her point:
“I would rather trap my head in the fridge door. I’m the only person that goes abroad and pays full amount for everything. My family will come out and say ‘Well it was up for £20 and I got it for £1 and I’ll go ‘Ah mine was £25.’ “
When Ruth questions why this might be the case, Judy puts forward the idea that it may just be in our genetic makeup:
“It probably comes down to the fact that they’ve got testosterone and we’ve got oestrogen…”
“Can I ask you a question?” Coleen interjected. “Do you all get paid for this?” she asked, sending the ladies falling about laughing.