Every woman in this multinational is worth € 1,45
Last year I received an e-mail from one of the world’s leading companies. A huge multinational based in every country in the world and having its head office in the US. In the Netherlands the company is based on the Zuidas in Amsterdam and their office is truly amazing. The directors have chauffeurs and everybody within this company is well paid. Their software in used in every major company.
The question they posed me is if I could inspire and motivate their women on International Women’s Day on the 8th of March. I called my contact and we started a conversation. It was about two weeks before the 8th of March. I asked about location and what the position was of the women within the company, as usual I wanted context. I wanted to know what they had done up to now and how they shaped International Women’s Day in the past.
They were taken by my book Sales Is Sexy and I said great, we could even make a deal that every woman that participates could actually receive a copy. The company could then buy it for them and give it to the ladies as a present. A deal I often make. All of a sudden things went quiet. I asked her what the matter was and she said: ‘Well, we actually have a budget of 200 euros for the speaker. Oh and by the way, including travelling costs.’
I replied: ‘Uh… you said that it had to be in English right?’ ‘Right’, she said. ‘And for about 60 women, right?’ ‘Indeed’, she answered. ‘Impossible’, I told her immediately. ‘I am a professional speaker and these rates are impossible for me to speak for.’ I had told what my rate was and she was amazed. I said to her that the 200 euros would be my traveling costs but that I could not speak for that amount.
This wonderful worldwide, pro-female company had 200 euros to spend on International Women’s Day for 60 of their women. I asked her if she knew what it meant per woman? I tried to open a conversation with her and explained to her that I found this to be so embarrassing; not for me but that I thought that this company was actually serious about women. I continued to say that this conversation had just altered my entire look on this company. It was not about me.
On the 8th of March I spoke for the Dutch organization UWV via my speaker’s agency Athenas about… this company. The lady from the mulinational asked if she could keep my information and call me next year. I asked her not to. How a company could value their women at € 1,45 a piece was above me. It truly boggled me and every time I am on the Zuidas I cant shake it, I look at the company name and I smile but its not a smile of pleasure or enjoyment but a smile of disbelief.
Today I sent her an e-mail enquiring about International Woman’s Day again. I could not resist. She was no longer responsible for organising international Woman’s Day. These stories remain with me and I know that although they have fancy programs for women it’s all window dressing and with me they can be themselves and they are themselves. I am not a liberty to share their name but how sad when women have this little worth within companies.
So tell me, do you know what in your company is your worth?