It’s true, God did not create men and women equal.
But when looking at the bigger picture, nor did he make any two independent human beings the same. We all do things differently, each and every one of us. Take these few examples on board to qualify this statement.
Two equally accomplished chefs will make spaghetti marinara differently, but both will be delicious.
Two sportspeople using their own unique strengths and weaknesses can win the same contest but both will achieve the same accolade.
Two teachers will teach the same novel differently, but all students will develop an understanding of its meaning. These same students will interpret their teacher’s instruction differently, will form their own opinions and have slightly different insights. All will write slightly different essays on the same novel, many will achieve the same grade.
Same, same but different.
All the situations above represent two (or more) humans achieving the same (or a very similar) things to the same (or very similar) level, differently. Is one better than the other? That boils down to personal preference, opinion and the perceived value of each employee asset by their employer. All of which is again independent and different.
The reality of this is that no two people will undertake the same task or pursuit in exactly the same way. However, if they complete this same task, albeit in a different way, they are just as valuable as each other irrelevant of their age, gender, nationality, sexuality and/or anything else that might make them unique.
Most of us in the modern developed world subscribe to this thinking. This understanding of the right to be granted basic human equality and rights has taken a very long time, lots of battles, fights, arguments, injustices, protests, work, acceptance and humility.
That’s why when events unfold like the recent issues between Lisa Wilkinson and her employer Channel 9, it forces the greater community to acknowledge the following: that this topic has lots of grey area and is open to interpretation; that as a society, our journey down the road to equality continues; and that it’s very important to keep striving for this important basic human right.
If you haven’t already heard, earlier this week, Lisa Wilkinson, an incredibly well respected, highly qualified, professional journalist has left her position as co-host on the Channel 9 Today Show, to take up a role with The Project on Channel 10. Media reports identify that during employment contract negotiations, she asked Channel 9 for, but was not awarded, her remuneration to be more in-line with that received by her male co-host of the same show.
The two co-hosts are equally popular with the shows viewer base, have the same responsibilities and hours working on the show and are equally successful and qualified in their field and achievements.
In response Channel 9 have argued that Karl Stepanovic, is worth more money to the network because he hosts two shows and contributes to another, and that well may be the case. However, the pay gap of $200,000, which is reportedly what the difference in their salary would have been based on Lisa’s new offer of $1.8 million if she had accepted, she must have felt was too large for her to remain happy at the network. The fact that up until this point her salary was almost a million dollars below that of her co-host may have contributed to her insistence that she be remunerated more generously and in-line with her own perceived value.
And while I am sure Lisa is not denying that both salary’s are incredibly generous, it was the point that mattered, enough for her to walk away after 10 successful years in a role which she appeared to very much enjoy and was by all accounts exceptional at performing.
You can see both perspectives. It is disappointing that the two parties, which up until this point had enjoyed a good working relationship, were unsuccessful in achieving a successful outcome in their negotiations.
Congratulations must go to Channel 10 on the acquirement of a fantastic resource who by all accounts is a stellar asset. Channel 10 was obviously able to provide Ms Wilkinson with an offer of employment that she felt was fairer and better remunerated her for her services. However, already her employment there has not been without its controversy and it has been revealed that she is being paid far more than her The Project colleagues. Will this create the same problems for Channel 10 in the future, only time will tell. One thing is certain, her perceived value has secured her this contract and now she must deliver!
Unfortunately for Channel 9, whether it’s fair or not, the spin-off has painted them to be an employer whose practices have been revealed to be unjust and antiquated in relation to the global issue of equality and an employer whom marginalises their employees according to factors such as gender, as opposed to what they can contribute to the working environment.
It is also appropriate to acknowledge that in undertaking this bold move, Ms Wilkinson has not only secured herself a new role with an employer that she believes values her correctly, but has in the process scored a landmark victory for women in television and the professional world.
We at Purple Giraffe believe that remuneration, accolades, achievements and recognition should be received on merit alone. Gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality and any other personal attribute should have no bearing on this outcome.