Galina Akhmerova: ‘Women are often silent and do not go to their chiefs, while men are bolder’

An expert on career guidance of teenagers — about the difference in salaries of men and women

Gender inequality reigns in the Russian labour market, at least the knowledge and qualifications of women are not converted directly into income, as it happens for men. Scientists of the Higher School of Economics came to this conclusion in the course of a study, pointing out the salary gap between representatives of the fairer sex, despite that diplomas may be the same. Galina Akhmerova, the creator of the mobile application for career guidance of teenagers Round, writes why this happens and whether it is possible to correct the situation in the author's column for Realnoe Vremya.

Wage gap between men and women?

It seems to me that the root cause is that we raise boys and girls differently. As they say, we all come from childhood.

There is a lot of research on this topic, here are a few factors:

— boys are traditionally bought games that develop spatial thinking: cubes, constructors, railway ... Therefore, in the future it is easier for them to identify logical patterns, so it is often easier for them to learn mathematics and physics and technology specialties;

— girls are bought dolls and dresses, they play house, thereby developing communication skills and empathy, which gives us success in the humanities, strong soft skills, emotional intelligence.

In fact, I adhere to the traditional approach in raising children. But at the same time, I am happy to cook with my sons and talk a lot, which, according to research, is also typical in the upbringing of girls.

“Male” and “female” fields

I will continue the chain of my thoughts. Then we get interesting statistics on admission to departments. Economics and management (68% of female graduates), humanities (69%), health and medicine (74%), social sciences (except law and economics (78%), arts and culture (80%) and education (84%) turned out to be “female”. “Male” areas: agriculture (54% of male graduates), mathematical and computer sciences (63%) and engineering (68%).*

Then everything is also logical: we traditionally have higher wages in technical positions than in humanitarian ones. But this is a general reasoning when we compare the average.

If we talk about the same positions, then, as it seems to me, two things play a role here:

  1. women from a certain moment change their priorities towards family, stable schedule, predictability, lack of risks;
  2. there is a belief in society that a man is the head of the family, so employers are more willing to raise men's wages.

Number of women in top positions is growing

At the same time, I want to note that I personally have not encountered a wage difference in my career. After all, it's also a matter of how you position yourself, you need to conduct a dialogue, argue your position. Women are often silent and do not go to their chiefs for discussion, while men are bolder.

Another important point: developed emotional intelligence is now one of the most sought-after skills, especially in managerial positions. In recent years, I have been pleased to see an increasing number of women in top positions. I am categorically against comparing and contrasting who is more, who is less. It is important to do what you love and be satisfied with yourself. I want to put this understanding into the minds of children, and the Round application team and I are trying to do our best so that they try different directions from childhood and can come to their favourite business through hobbies.

Galina Akhmerova

The author's opinion may not coincide with the position of the editorial board of Realnoe Vremya.