Where expectations of pay equity begin

This morning a most curious conversation started with tween around the breakfast bar.  For a while she’s been stressing about being able to afford her medical degree (she is 12).  Her new worry is that she won’t be paid the same as her male counterparts.

That glass ceiling has never been my personal experience.  Did I not aim high enough?

“No” she tells me

“It’s because you are an entrepreneur mum”

Being recognised as an entrepreneur is tantalising enough but hearing my child ‘get me’ is simply heaven.  But as my ego allowed me to step off my glorified throne, I ceased my internal parental role model award speech and I came back to earth I noticed the seriousness of the situation.

My daughter is twelve years old and she is preparing to not earn as much as her male counterparts.

Where hath this heinous myth started?

The conversation continued in the car on the way to school where she told me she’d just have to accept that she would be paid less.

We discussed the opportunity to negotiate a salary – a glimpse of hope.

We worked out that there is probably a while between now and a job interview as a Doctor – further hope.

I dug for the root of the thought process.  After all, this is a child brought up in a situation where mum focused on career and dad spent much more time than the “norm” doing the house stuff.

The closest we got in the brief car ride was it was about one piece swimmers, closely related to a knee length school uniform.

Turns out that tween has worked out school uniform rules at her school are not equitable in terms of coolness.  Girls are required to dress in the 1500’s (this is loosely interpreted as ‘as a young lady’), boys just dress like boys.

I can’t say that she DOESN’T have a point.  I also can’t say that her very long and daggy school skirt doesn’t relieve me just a little.

It fascinates me how she’s drawn the line between a school uniform policy and her expectation of adult pay equity.

And saddens me that somehow tween is gathering ideas about her capacity to earn and what might stifle it.

And it makes me ever more determined to continue to lead by the example of the life that matters most to me.  Little people are most certainly watching.

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