11 tips on how women can narrow the gender pay gap for financial success
Another gap exists among women and men working in similar occupations and sharing similar skill sets and qualifications, according to wage and compensation analytics firm PayScale.
Despite recent decades-long improvements, the gender pay gap continues to hamper women’s wallets. It can also set women back in their efforts to save and invest. Statistics can’t tell the emotional toll it takes. The widow who is the only breadwinner cites a struggle to keep up with male coworkers.
“For the entirety of my career, I had to fight for pay equity,” April Stewart, a financial educator, and money coach said. I have learned from other male coworkers that my salary was lower than theirs. They typically had more raw skill, and I had a better track record. I went to Ivy League schools, but I also am a Black woman. Burnout results from long-term stress. It gets tedious.
Women and men, on the whole, aren’t compensated equally. In 2019, women received 82 cents on the dollar to what males earned. That image makes her appear much darker. For every $1 that men made, Hispanic women made 62 cents, while black women only earned 54 cents.
Explore the gender pay gap tips and reach your financial goals, according to women who have dealt with pay differences in their professional careers.
1. Research everything, don’t be scared to talk to coworkers about what they earn and how they’ve handled the issue
Resignation and longer-term issues abound in the workforce, with the gender pay gap as the main example. However, women are not resigned to the matter.
Cady North, CEO of North Financial Advisors, advises women to concentrate on areas they can really control. “Getting as much information as possible is critical when bargaining to try to lessen the pay gap.”
To ensure you’re paid to scale, search compensation data for people with your level of education and experience who have a job in your industry and geographic location. Stewart looks for wage history information by using platforms such as Glassdoor.
This is only a place to start, Stewart explains. “Factual evidence plays a big role in these matters.”
You should chat with other professionals in your sector and coworkers as well. Your female-identifying colleagues may also have some advice to provide.
Zoe Waters, CEO, and founder of social justice communications platform Necessary Behavior recommends asking other members of your organization what they’ve done when negotiating with the individual you’ll be meeting with.
It was because of margaritas that Ellen Ensher noticed her coworkers were earning more money than she was.
When I went back to my friend and mentor, I had to ask for additional money. When she said she paid you, she had her ‘manager hat’ on. Yes, I can raise your rate from $50 to $100 an hour,” Ensher tells you. Of course, my first assumption was that I was not good enough, not that I did not ask.
2. It’s critical to keep earnings information private
Openness can’t always be expected, though, when it comes to recruiters and hiring managers.
Recruiters frequently ask job applicants about their wage expectations or earnings history. Recruiters using this to probe deeper into candidates’ backgrounds, while some believe this tends to perpetuate the cycle.
Avoid answering the question and instead say you’d like to discover more about the role. You may even suggest a compensation range between $5,000 and $10,000, with what you expect to be paid depending on the research you’ve done for the work.
3. Look for better opportunities
It is not commonplace for workers to receive a raise each year, but promotion is required for a substantial one. Employees tend to get the greatest wage raises when they change jobs.
The female pay disparity motivated Coleen Otero to establish a business.
“I believe freedom is something we have to offer ourselves,” she continues. “Entrepreneurship is essential to driving progress towards gender parity. It gives us power. Women must own and operate their own enterprises. When we build the table, we are assured of a seat.”
4. Ask for more
Negotiation is your most potent weapon. Recruiters and hiring managers expect it, and there’s no faster way to start earning more.
As Otero put it, “if you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it.” Otero trained women for executive roles before opening her own salon. One by one, she watched as the women she had coached received their promotions until she finally asked for a meeting to explore how she could move up.
Next year, she was put in charge of six locations and around 45 to 60 staff. The moral of the story is, ask for what you want. The world needs creators.
5. Learn to negotiate through practice
If you can do it with friends, you can do it in front of your potential employer, Waters states, “also understand what you would be willing to give up If you can’t live comfortably, search for another area to work. If you feel you didn’t do well, then try again.”
Practice makes perfect so consider taking a glance in the mirror before making your approach.
6. Ask for Reviews
Even if the negotiation doesn’t give the results you want today, that doesn’t guarantee you will fail in the future.
Ask your management for more frequent review sessions on a 90-day or six-month cycle. You’ll learn about opportunities to keep improving, and also be able to put up additional significant “asks,” Ivette Mayo, CEO of Power On Heels Fund, explains.
Your successful approach showcases your skills and willingness to succeed.
7. Prepare strategies to prove your worth
Bring clear, tangible instances of how you contributed to your company’s top-line development at every review and use it as a cause to narrow the gender pay gap (get paid more).
“I got everything I asked for, or as near to it as possible,” Stewart adds. “It was clear by my continuing promotion and increased responsibility within the organization. That comes at a cost, and I wasn’t willing to take on more.”
8. Focus on saving and investing while keeping an emergency fund
Women may feel more pressure to invest because they may earn less than males, but it shouldn’t come before having a safety net in case of an emergency or job loss.
“Investing buys you alternatives [to do things like] taking a sabbatical in 10 years or converting to part-time consultancy 10 years before retirement,” North says, “Investing begins with a solid financial foundation.”
9. Have an open discussion on the homework strain that many women face
Experts argue the gender pay gap has neither a discriminatory or non-discriminatory explanation. In fact, many moms work fewer hours or leave the labor sector altogether to care for their children, affecting their salary over time.
When it comes to parenthood and a career in medicine, Whitney Casares, MD, has had to play tug-of-war. When she wants to “lean in fully” to her professional career, she claims gender stereotypes are holding her back.
In each case, she claims, she found herself in debt and at a disadvantage to her male coworkers when it came to promotions, productivity bonuses, and lost income. As a new mom, I was virtually always the default for a long time. If one of my kids was sick, I left early. The one to jump in when there was a family problem. All of those gender-based concessions have contributed to the income gap between me and my male partners.”
Setting limits at work and at home, Casares believes, was key. For example, she stays home from work to care for a sick child or handle an emergency but simultaneously letting her colleagues know she is a working mother.
10. Never blame yourself for the gender pay gap
And above all, those who’ve confronted the gender pay gap in their own lives know it’s important to realize that this stubborn problem has nothing to do with you and the value that you bring to the company.
“Antiqued mindset[s] and falsely based bias[es] continue to feed the gender pay gap beast; it is not your fault,” Mayo says. “If there is one thing I learned in my career as a woman, it is that no one will be a more honest, help advocate for me than me. The gender pay gap is real and exists all over the world. I needed to become my biggest advocate. Learning this and becoming my biggest promoter made me more effective in securing the salary that I needed to support my family and future goals. This also kept me motivated and built my confidence.”
11. Stick to a personal financial plan
If you become comfortable with money, you may be more willing to discuss it with a recruiter or management. Stewart adds that confidence in your personal money may spill over into your work life.
Chantel Bonneau Stewart, CFP, financial management advisor at Northwestern Mutual, advises clients to make money a priority in their lives. « It’s like your health, fitness objectives, and mental wellness – you want to keep a good pulse on how those things operate in your life. »