A new tampon ad reveals a new key to leadership, which could unlock the economic future for women.

A new tampon ad reveals a new key to leadership, which could unlock the economic future for women.

Even the few women who’ve managed to advance to the C-suite don’t get equal pay. Last year, of the five best-paid executives at each of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies, 198 were women, or 8 percent of the total. Those high-achievers on average earned $5.3 million, 18 percent less than men, data compiled by Bloomberg show. [Bloomberg]

IT CONTINUES to be an ugly fact of life that even the best-paid women in America’s top companies still get paid less, with part of the problem being women expect to get screwed financially, while being afraid they’ll be called shrill if they demand what they’re worth. But could the tampon ad “Camp Gyno” hold the key to breaking the chains of diminished female leadership and compensation, but also why a Hillary presidential candidacy matters so much?

It brings up a question that’s followed me throughout my life, which is that a woman’s worth seems tide to our FLO. Yet we’re embarrassed by it when it begins, but also if it’s later than our friends. Discomforted by it once it arrives, especially if we’re athletic, or in my case, a performer. It’s celebrated when it stops and you become pregnant, yet in later life when it stops, until very recently, women were seen as dried up hags. If you choose to control your FLO, even choosing a child free life, there’s a whole other stigma to it, especially if career is your choice. A woman’s judged for that still, too, with all of these different stages and tugs on our time and how we use our energy all connected to our economic earning power. Become a mother, you lose out. Don’t become a mother and commit to career just like a man and you’re still seen as less and also earn less for the same effort! The cycle is as repetitive as a hamster on a wheel, with women still not getting out of the rut of being paid less no matter what we do or sacrifice. It all comes back to FLO and the essential woman that has equal choices, but certainly not equal treatment.

The reason it matters and we can’t let this subject go is that today matters for women competing right now and this subject will impact what the next generations come up against if we don’t keep pushing progress onward.

Facebook Inc.’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, who advises women in her best-selling book “Lean In” not to squelch their ambitions, notes that women’s lack of sponsors in their workplaces keeps them from asking for both stretch assignments and raises.

Women are such a rarity in top jobs ““- about 20 S&P 500 CEOs — that they may not want to stand out more by being tough on pay, according to Pat Cook, president of boutique executive search firm Cook & Co.

“Women tend to start out their careers getting paid less, and that gap often never gets made up, even at the most senior levels,” said Cook, whose firm is based in Bronxville, New York. “Plus women settle more frequently than men for what they’re offered.”

The real challenge for women attempting to gain parity with men on pay is that women are still characterized as unlikable and judged negatively if they are aggressive and assert themselves on pay. More from Bloomberg:

“Women are more likely to advocate for opportunity for themselves than for money, even when they’ve accomplished so much,” said M.J. Tocci, director of the Heinz Negotiation Academy for Women at Carnegie Mellon University. “That’s not surprising given the backlash women can get when they seek higher pay. Even people who believe women deserve what they’re asking for often peg them as selfish and not likable, which isn’t the reaction men get when they demand more.”

Overall, women who work full time in the U.S. earned an average 77 cents for every dollar paid to men in 2011, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The variance can be partly explained by differences in occupation, experience, and skill.

For women at the highest rungs of the corporate ladder, who were paid 82 cents for every dollar of their male counterparts in the S&P 500 last year, levels of experience and skill are more comparable with the men.

A 2010 study by Catalyst found that after controlling for career aspirations, parental status, years of experience, industry, and other variables, male graduates are more likely to be assigned jobs of higher rank and responsibility and earn, on average, $4,600 more than women in their first post-MBA jobs. The study involved 9,927 graduates of business schools in the North America, Europe and Asia.

Could a tampon ad change all this? That’s something that is being discussed this month over at LeanIn.org, compliments of a tremendous heroine in an ad titled “Camp Gyno.”

Although the “Camp Gyno” ends up as a bit of a tampon tyranny, the ad portrays a young girl as “the boss” in a positive and funny way. Too often when women lead they are seen as “bossy” or “shrewd,” but when men act like the boss, they’re simply seen as leaders.

The ad seems to riff off of the nearly 30 year old argument made by activist Gloria Steinem in her famous piece, “If Men Could Menstruate.” which describes the pride men would display if they could have a period. “Men would brag about how long and how much. Young boys would talk about it as the envied beginning of manhood,” she writes. These “feminine qualities” are reflected upon men in a positive way.

This stigma not only impacts how we, as women, define ourselves, but how we’re established in society. …

The stigma is wide and deep and hits women no matter our choices, which we are supposed to celebrate, but which we still get judged and/or penalized on when we make them.

This is another reason I believe America desperately needs a female president, especially someone who is as strong an advocate for women’s equality as Hillary Clinton. If Clinton doesn’t run for president in 2016, a rare possibility in my opinion, we still need to push for more females in politics, but especially the presidency.

A new tampon ad reveals a new key to leadership, which could unlock the economic future for women.

A new tampon ad reveals a new key to leadership, which could unlock the economic future for women.

Nothing is more important than empowering women in position to rise today, as well as the next generations of women, to stand up and demand what they are worth. Pushing the discussion on discrimination against women who assert their economic value is also critical, because as the Bloomberg article reveals, even today women are judged negatively when they put a dollar amount on their talents.

“Camp Gyno” isn’t just a tampon commercial and “Hello FLO” beats the hell out of “the curse,” which is what a woman’s period used to be labeled. It’s just that “the curse” still follows women into the workplace, whether we choose career over children or in addition to children, because nothing seems to make us equal economically, no matter our education, experience or how hard we work, simply because we’re not men.