Katica Roy is a breadwinner mom and gender economist, who is on a mission to achieve gender equity once and for all. She says that we need to realize that gender equity is not just a social issue but a massive economic opportunity. In fact, if we close the pay gap in the US, the economy would grow by $3.1 trillion; globally, it would increase by $12 trillion. Having fought for equal pay for herself twice and won, Katica decided there must be an easier way through advanced technology. She founded Pipeline®, a SaaS platform that uses artificial intelligence and applies algorithms to show if decisions will have equitable outcomes before they’re made. Katica compares Pipeline® to Google Maps in that it gives you directions so that you can make augmented decisions about how to get from point A to point B.
Of course, there’s more involved in a company’s people decisions. Katica says that there are five decisions that companies make across their talent: mobility, pay, performance, potential and promotion. When those factors are run through the algorithms, inequalities show up according to built-in gender biases. To put it in perspective, Katica says, “The average Fortune 500 company has 60,000 employees and they make three key decisions across their talent each year, which is performance, potential and pay. So that’s 180,000 opportunities to move toward equity each and every year.” Pipeline® makes that possible. That’s why, she says, “On average, our customers improve equity by 67% in the first three months on the platform.”
Gender Ignorance Is Costing Us Money
Katica says our systems are not gender neutral; they’re gender ignorant. Biases about women in the workforce keep women earning less. Katica says that it’s called “mommy tracking,” which is the perception that moms getting paid for their labor are less committed to their jobs when the opposite is true. They are the most productive over the life of their careers while getting paid the least. There is a myth that it’s secondary income and is only used for things like purses and shoes. The research found, “that the breadwinner mom pay gap is the largest gender pay gap for any cohort of women in the workforce ($0.66 for white women and $0.44 on the dollar for Black women).” In addition, Katica says that Black women support the majority of all Black children and have for over 30 years. She goes on to say that the financial circumstances of the moms directly affect the children and their future economic impact as adults. An investment in equity today is an investment in the equity of tomorrow’s workforce and the economy they create.
How COVID Affected Women Workers
Besides dealing with all of the aspects of working from home, schools closing, childcare issues, etc., Katica points out there are several reasons one million women are missing from the workforce. “First, women made up the majority of the labor force in the industries and occupations that were most impacted by COVID.” However, she says that because of the crisis, “we leaped forward five years in terms of digital acceleration.” The jobs that existed at the beginning of the pandemic are not necessarily the jobs that exist now. There is also no concerted effort to ensure the full participation of women in the labor force. Women tend to be the last in and first out when employers lay off workers, and the measures to control inflation have also hurt women. Katica points out that the “inflation rate for goods and services…is twice that of goods and services targeted for men.” She calls it a “credit risk” to be a woman because everything from car loans to mortgages cost women more.
How the Widening Gap Affects Us All
Listen to this amazing conversation to hear Katica’s personal story and learn more eye-opening facts, like when the gap starts that reduces female CEOs to 8% of Fortune 500 Companies, how to alleviate it, and how even that affects women’s future potential for political offices. Learn more about Pipeline® on their website, pipelineequity.com, and read Katica’s blogs as well as the Q&A section on her website, katicaroy.com.