Equal Pay Day

It’s equal pay day today.

One of the statistics we discuss in my women’s leadership class that everyone should know is that in Fortune 500 companies, women are on track to make equal salary to men for the same job in 136 years. (The American Association of University Women (AAUW) analysis of 2016 U.S. Census Bureau data.)

Many speakers and leadership trainings put the onus on women to negotiate better during their interviews and performance reviews, and advocate for themselves. However, studies find that wage negotiation actually sustains the wage gap.

The real issue is that employers continue to apply hiring and promotion policies that condone subjective assessments of people's character, looks, and abilities. Studies show that in general, women have to prove their achievements again and again to get promoted, whereas men are more likely to be judged on their “potential”.

There is no easy solution, however here are some tips for addressing the issue of wage discrimination:

  1. Find a mentor and meet with them regularly to discuss professional challenges you face.
  2. Build trust with colleague(s) who will have your back.
  3. Know your facts - learn about your employer's hiring practices, and know the pay rate for your position in your industry.

If you have the choice and you are not putting yourself at risk, have a discussion with your manager/employer about wage discrimination and the importance of equal pay and implementing transparent hiring processes.