Ultimately the fact that there is a gender pay gap is the result of decisions made, no doubt by men, based on a belief that motherhood isn’t as valuable as earnings for the company.
And balancing gender pay (over time) is similarly a decision, able to be made, by men, who are choosing not to make it. Call it a conscious decision not to make a decision.
Now that the gender gap has been exposed, how can the decision to balance it be enabled?
In a short-term earnings oriented world, accounting practice has an illogical flaw, in that decisions to invest to balance the gap are costs on the income statement. That they are costs is both immediate and certain.
Accounting practice has a deep illogical flaw in that it penalises decisions to do the right thing.
Note the deliberate use of accounting practice, which is deeply flawed, and not accounting, which is close to perfect when the debits and credits are properly applied.
How to reverse this flaw?
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Rules based on yesterday’s norms are a guarantee of failure – the rules which shape our economy will only endure if they are based on social norms that will endure. This cannot be a social norm which accepts the end of life on earth.
The economy has clearly changed. Intangibles dominate the global economy but accounting practice hasn’t kept up. As a result financial statements don’t show what is actually creating value (intangible assets) or those things that could lose value (intangible liabilities, such as climate risk).
As Alfred (Michael Caine) says to Batman (Christian Bale) in The Dark Knight: 'Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.'
Economists were underprepared to deal with the pandemic shutdown. Neoclassical theory is no longer relevant. Normative Theory links capitalism to social norms. Normative Economics and Normative Accounting more closely align capitalism with the realities of the 21st Century.