Four ways to fight for pay equity at work

Despite the efforts of feminism, women are still paid significantly less than men. Women earn 83 cents for every dollar men earn in the U.S. The World Economic Forum also estimates it will take 168 years to close the gender pay gap in North America. Women also hold fewer leadership positions within companies, even though they have 60 percent of the undergraduate degrees in the country.

For women in the workplace, reading numbers like these can be incredibly disheartening. However, there are certain steps women can take to fight for pay and gender equality in their workplaces.

Learn how to negotiate

When interviewing, you should prepare to negotiate for your desired salary. You will need to do some research, like checking out salary.com or glassdoor.com. These sites provide information about what people in your area are being paid for a particular job.

Keep those number in mind, but treat salary negotiations like poker. Try to get the interviewer to name a salary number first. Remember to tout your accomplishments like your degree and your experiences that qualify you for the position.

In Texas, an employer can ask you what you made at a previous job, but you do not have to answer the question. You can reply by stating the range of salary you are expecting, based on your qualifications. Or you could simply state you are uncomfortable answering that question. Often, asking for your current salary is a way for a potential employer to offer you less than money the position typically pays.

Create a support network

To advance in your career, it helps to talk to other women in your industry. You could look for local networking groups or find groups through meetup.com. Ask for advice, and do not be afraid to discuss salary. You may learn you are being underpaid, or gain some insight about how to move up within your industry. You can also network to look for new job opportunities.

Recruit male allies

According to the Boston Globe, the most successful gender diversity programs are ones that enlist men’s participation. Younger men particularly are more interested in programs like on-site daycare and parental leave policies. If you have male colleagues you get along with, try to get them to push for programs like these and talk to them about any treatment that is discriminatory toward women. The more people you have on board, the more likely management will listen to your concerns.

Speak up and do not back down

A 19-year analysis of corporate earnings calls found men spoke 92 percent of the time during these calls. Most women are very familiar with this phenomenon. Women are not asked to speak as often, and when they do, they are often interrupted by their male colleagues. To be successful in the business world, you must learn to speak up and express your ideas. You may still get interrupted, but do not let that stop you. When someone interrupts you, you could say, “I appreciate your feedback, but can you share it after I’m done?” It may take some time getting comfortable with this, but you can learn how to speak up and insist your colleagues hear your point of view.

Though women are still not paid as much on average as men in the U.S., it does not mean women have no recourse against gender pay discrimination. Women can start to close the gap by learning to negotiate, networking with other women, enlisting male allies and learning to voice their opinions at work.

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