Do you think like a man or like a women when it comes to work? One way to find out is to examine your attitude towards pay.

According to Marilyn Davidson – professor of work psychology at Manchester Business School – men get more pay in the workplace than women because they expect it, they ask for it, and they (think they) deserve it.

If women want equal pay, they have to think in the same way as men.

Why don’t they? Here’s what this woman says.

“Partly women fear being too aggressive and feisty – which can be viewed as negative in the workplace – but I think it’s more complex. It is part of our conditioning that men equate money with status and power but women see job satisfaction as more of an issue.”

So some of it is due to traditional stereotypes of the assertive workplace women as a bolshy ball-buster, able to out-drink and out-think her male compatriots. The superwoman. Margaret Thatcher. You want a merit fight? Bring it on! And scary with it.

But some of it also has to do with our gender ‘conditioning’ according to which money means more to men.

A man looks at a promotion and thinks – power, status, money, achievement.

A woman looks at the same opportunity and thinks – “Promotion just means longer hours and more stress all with very little thanks. If you have no free time to enjoy the money you’re earning what’s the point?”

(So says Emma from Oxford.)

I first came across this perspective in one of the best books on gender I’ve read. It’s called The Sexual Paradox: Troubled Boys, Gifted Girls and the Real Diffrence Between the Sexes by Susan Pinker. I’ve mentioned her book before. Amazon describes the book’s thesis like this:

“By comparing the lives of troubled schoolboys and promising girls, Pinker turns several widely-held assumptions upside down: that the sexes are biologically equivalent; that intelligence is all it takes to succeed; and that men and women have identical goals.Pinker argues that men and women are not clones, and that gender discrimination is just one part of the persistent gender gap. A workplace that is satisfying to us all will recognize differences between the sexes, not ignore them or insist that we will all be the same. The Sexual Paradox reveals how gender differences influence ambition and success.”

In essence – women get less pay because they want less job. They have a life. Men do not. Work is their life. Now that the glass ceiling is cracking, women could push on through. But they (generally) don’t want to! Why? Because maybe we’re asking the wrong question.

It’s not, How can women think more like men about their pay? Rather, how can men think more like women about their job?

Quality of life is not quantity of remuneration. Or even close.

Men need to wise up to this fact. Money can’t repair your shattered family, your shattered health or your shattered dreams. Money leaves you wanting more. Always.

Take the gender pay test here.

Image credit: fuzzbabble.