In 2011, American women earned 82.2% of men’s median weekly earnings, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In almost every profession, women pull in lower wages than their male counterparts.
Although part of the gender pay gap stems from good old-fashioned sexism, women shoulder some of the blame for their discounted salaries.
- end your work day early to spend time with the kids,
- interrupt prime income earning years to raise your young’uns,
- choose a low paying career, and
- shy away from salary and raise negotiations
you can’t expect to command top dollar for your services.
Although noble, your personal lifestyle choices are irrelevant to a non-breathing, soulless, profit-driven company.
But as I mentioned earlier, women are still subjected to sexual discrimination, and that ain’t fair.
During the MarketPlace Money segment, Why do women get smaller raises than men?, Maura Belliveau, a Long Island University professor, made an interesting point.
If managers reason that women don’t care about money as much as men or that we’re poor negotiators, then they’ll initially offer us vagina having wimps a low ball salary or raise. Which means, from the start, we’re handicapped in the negotiation games. ಠ_ಠ
You can’t control people’s biases. As individuals, we’re basically powerless when it comes to ending the wage disparities between women and men.
Without hacking into your employer’s payroll system, it’s almost impossible to find out how much others earn.
So what can you do?
Professor Belliveau has a smart, somewhat scary, solution: Advocate for a gender pay audit within your organization. With 71% of human resource managers being women, such a request should seem unnecessary, yet here we are.
Since the government doesn’t require compensation transparency, self policing the biases, intentional or unintentional, of those responsible for determining pay is the best, and unfortunately, one of the few answers to clamping shut the gender wage gap.
Would you be willing to ask your employer to perform a gender pay audit?