Men & Women / Apples & Pears


On the much discussed topic regarding equal pay for men and women I have a view that may not be favoured amongst many modern women and self proclaimed feminists.

In the Western world, I do believe that women are given fair (note the word is not equal) opportunity and fair pay IF they demand it. 

Professor Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist from Canada, claims that women are often paid less because they are more agreeable and compassionate. Agreeability and compassion are classed as ‘feminine’ personality traits though they are not strictly applicable to women.

Personal Story:

Back in 2013 a male friend and I applied for a job at an up and coming new company. He applied for a web developer position; I applied for an in-house graphic designer position. We both asked for a €2k monthly salary, and both had interviews on the same day, and got offered a job on the same day. 

My friend got hired and got his €2k p/m salary.

I got hired for a starting salary of €900 p/m which was going to be for 6 months, then re-evaluated, “because it was a start-up, but the future with us is bright and the ones that get in early will reap the benefits”. A year passed and it was never re-evaluated, because it was never “the right time”.

I was the only designer, supplying artwork for 4 web developers at this company. So clearly, my role was unique and crucial to the company.


The day I handed in my notice, my boss asked what I wanted in order to stay. I said to him, “When I came here a year ago I asked for 2k. You can't pay me enough to stay now.”

Thank you Prof. Peterson for finally explaining the reason to me that I was underpaid and undervalued. It’s not because I am a woman, but because I accepted that kind of treatment from an employer.

All three companies that I worked for in my short stint as an employee and graphic designer STILL showcase my work on their individual websites after nearly a decade of working there and after hiring so many graphic designers to fill my boots.

If only I believed in myself enough to get paid my value, because it proves I have very big boots to fill.

I don’t know any man (or very many women) who would walk away from a job without having another one lined up, to start something of their own, with their own savings, and walk away from what is a sure thing. Men need validation and security much more than women and will only take calculated risks. I took a big risk to follow my dream, and the struggle is real. There are periods where I think ‘yes! This is worth it!’ and there are days where I want to throw in the towel and run back to my low paying job because that’s what is familiar and safe. Possibly I may still harbour the belief that that is what I am worth.

As an independent designer of my own business now, I often come up against my own limiting beliefs when I hit a bump in the road. There are challenged every single day, and it’s easy to pass the blame onto society and complain about the unfair treatment of women when things are not going as planned or require much more effort than your usual problem solving. It’s a struggle to be a success. It’s not meant to be easy otherwise we would all be successful and all be highly paid.

In nature there has to be balance. The strongest, fastest, most beautiful of the species will be sought after and find a mate, while the weakest will simply be left behind. 

The same applies to the work force. While I don’t believe you can compare men and women on the same scale of equality, you can appreciate that life seems to be more fair to those who are more driven and less fair to those who have excuses and reasons for their failures. Men and women may be the same species, but we are not and should not be the considered same. It’s like comparing apples and pears, both of which are fruit, but very different.

Being a woman means I have an inner strength and resilience that only women have, not a physical strength that can be measured against another man’s physical strength where a clear winner will prevail.

It’s our limited belief system that women are somehow unfairly treated that’s holding us back. We should embrace our femininity and not try to compete on a masculine scale of success unless we are willing to play by the same rules. The men that get ahead are the men that sacrifice their personal life, work the hardest and longest to get ahead and are more strategic thinkers than emotional. The women that make it in the so-called ‘man’s world’ are the women who think and act like men. They tend to be less agreeable, less compassionate, and more strategic than emotional. These are also the women who find it difficult to keep a relationship or meet a man that can keep up with them.

The bottom line comes down to your highest values. Is fame, success and career your ultimate goal? Is that the only thing you want to achieve at the expense of all else?

For me, the answer is easy. I want balance. I’ve already had a failed marriage due to being married to an unsupportive husband whose only focus was his own success, and he found it difficult to support my dreams. We were competing as if we were equals. Having grown older, and a little wiser, I’ve re-evaluated what success means to me.

I want a healthy and balanced life. I want a loving relationship with someone who supports me as much as I support him. Our roles in the relationship are not equal, because they are different. I have embraced my femininity and my inner feminine power and follow my intuition because that is how I function best. When I hit another road bump in this journey as an independent designer, I don’t charge ahead, but instead slow down and listen. I listen to my calling, to my intuition and change my course with fluidity, organically. That is how my feminine power is going to help guide, and I need to embrace my ‘feminine personality traits’.

I want to slow down, and take it all in. I want my brand to grow and evolve the same way my life has done; naturally, slowly and sustainably. I want to become a mother when I find the right partner who wants the same things I do. Yes, that does also mean that my brand and career may slow down further if those are the needs of my life at any time. This is my power. My calling. I do not want to compete with men because my needs are so very different to men. I will however adopt the mind frame of fairness as opposed to gender equality.

You always get what you ask for (or what you settle for).

Love & light

Anastasia 

 


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