How to Close the Gender Pay Gap

Mind the Gap.

We live in the 21st century, the era of technology, amazing breakthroughs in science and medicine, yet some old problems are unresolved. Long gone are the days when women were expected to give birth to children, stay home, and do nothing else. Throughout the history, women fought for the right to vote and be regarded equal as men. They are educated and able to do everything that the opposite gender can, so why are they paid less? Gender pay gap is a major problem, but it can be solved.

 

How serious is this problem?

Gender pay gap isn’t just about Hollywood where actresses are paid a significantly lower amount for roles in movies and TV shows than their male costars. Differences in salaries are observed around the globe in different industries.

The latest estimates show that in 2016, women’s gross hourly earnings in the European Union (EU) were 16.2% below than those of men. The pay gap varies from one member nation to another. In 2016, the lowest gap was recorded in Latvia, Finland, Lithuania, and Sweden while the highest pay gap was observed in Romania, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece, and Malta. Differences in salaries could be due to lower participation of women in the labor markets in these specific countries.

As far as the EU is concerned, the gender pay gap is significantly lower for new labor market entrants and it widens with age. Reports show that gender gap could rise with age due to career interruptions women usually experience throughout their working life.

The gender pay gap is a massive problem in the United States too. In 2016, women working full time were paid only 80% of what their male colleagues were paid. Yes, the pay gap between male and female workers was 20%! Although the gender pay gap has decreased since the 1970s, it’s still not enough.

What can women do?

The gender pay gap can be easily considered discrimination and there is no place for it in the modern society. Women don’t want or need a special treatment, they just want to have an equal pay as their male colleagues who do the same job. That’s not too much, is it? The pay gap also demonstrates the lack of appreciation for one’s work, and that is not fair. If you’re a woman who is fed up with a huge pay gap at work, it’s time to be proactive and get a much-deserved pay rise.

How much you want to earn?

This question is primarily intended for women who are looking for a job or those who are in the process of negotiating salary before they accept a job offer. Before you even think of having negotiations, take some time to think how much you expect to earn. If the offer you receive isn’t close, feel free to negotiate or you can turn it down. Accepting a job offer to work at a place where the salary is fixed and cannot be increased or negotiated may not be in your best interest if your target wage is much higher than that.

Just ask for it

Don’t stay silent and wait for your boss or manager to say something about your rise. Bosses aren’t monsters; you can talk to them and express your concerns. Also, your boss can’t read minds so if you want to have a bigger salary you can just ask for it directly.

Research

Thorough research is crucial for successful completion of projects at work, but it is also vital for your efforts to get a pay rise. How? When negotiating a bigger salary, the best way to get positive feedback is to show arguments that your boss cannot ignore. You can present your work results and all the successful projects you have completed, but also demonstrate how much money other people earn elsewhere. This is where your research skills step in! Put together information about paychecks that people receive for the same role in other companies and combine it with your work results that show your value.

Imagine you’re negotiating for someone else

Businesswomen are intelligent and know how to get what they want in everything they do. However, studies show that women achieve better results when negotiating on behalf of others. If you feel nervous about the “I would like to be paid more” talk, just imagine you’re negotiating a bigger salary for someone else. Remind yourself of all people who could benefit on your behalf. The key is to use things that women do better to your advantage.

Other things to do

  • You may not feel comfortable talking about getting a pay rise, but it doesn’t mean you should let it be and not ask for it
  • Ask your boss or manager about factors that influence your pay
  • If your boss says “no”, don’t take it as the final answer. Instead, take it as the opportunity to show why you deserve to be paid more
  • Cultivate and keep using negotiating skills
  • Push actively for promotions early in your career
  • Present a win-win scenario which will help your boss understand why giving you a pay rise can benefit not only you but them too
  • Strive to learn, improve existing skills, and develop new ones consistently. That way, you’ll always evolve

What companies and businesses can do?

The gender pay gap is not just about women, but the entire society. The goal is to live in a society where people have equal rights and women are paid equally as men for the same job. That’s not unrealistic, right? There’s a lot every company or business, regardless of the size, can do to narrow the gender pay gap.

Here is what you can do to make your company or organization a fair environment pay-wise:

  • Review the salary of every employee to determine whether pay gap exists and how big it is
  • Review the balance of men and women at different management levels within the company
  • Culture and employ fair hiring practices where new male and female hires get offered an equal salary for the same job position
  • Raise the base compensation of all female employees who were underpaid compared to men who did the same job
  • Make sure your company has both male and female managers
  • Hire new candidates based on their skills, experience, and things they can offer at your company, not based on their gender
  • Mentor young employees
  • Offer a fair salary

Bottom line

The gender pay gap is evident across the globe and it’s impossible to solve it in a matter of seconds. That doesn’t mean we are out of options. If every working man and woman or every company does their part, the situation would improve. Women shouldn’t feel afraid or ashamed to ask for what they deserve and their male colleagues need to support them. Companies, regardless of how big or small, should promote fair hiring practices which can only benefit them and their business in the long run. Step by step, and we can not only narrow but close the pay gap.