top of page

Museum Leadership, Bias, and Pay

download

Harvard study where women pay a financial penalty for being parents, but men do not. In fact, men with children are considered more hirable than men without children. Women with children, on the other hand, are less likely to get hired, and less likely to be promoted. The same Harvard study shows women with children were considered less committed to their jobs then women without children. Granted, this is an imaginary scenario, but it's there to help you understand how unconscious bias takes root. One prejudicial decision regarding race, gender, parenthood,  weight, LGBTQ, or disability lives forever in payroll, and unless there's an equity adjustment, it will still be there decades later when the employee retires. Your job as a leader is to work with your board to examine and correct these problems. Otherwise what's the point of your mission statement and all the other spin that comes off mission? What's the point of "serving diverse audiences" if your own workforce is discriminated against? What should you do?

  1. Read and understand the pay gap and its history.

  2. Don't tell yourself you're not racist and then allow the gender/race gap to persist in your workplace.

  3. Educate staff and board about why the pay gap is a problem and what needs to change at your institution.

  4. Do an equity audit. Evaluate your payroll. Look for the gaps. Make a plan for adjustment. Act on it.

  5. Look at your parental leave policy. (If you don't have one, make one.) FMLA or the Family Medical Leave Act is not pay. It's a place holder. Make sure staff isn't penalized for parenting.

  6. Pat yourself on the back and celebrate with your board if you discover your pay scale is equitable. It's a rare individual who's self-aware enough, who's done enough soul searching, who realizes the ways in which she's privileged, and the ways others are not, and who can shed enough load to come to workplace situations unbiased. But we can all try. Payroll is a place where we can change the museum workplace. Just do it. Joan Baldwin

Comments


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page