Today is Equal Pay Day. It was established in 1996 to bring attention to the gender pay gap in the US.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s still a gender pay gap in our country. WE’ve written about it. Some say it doesn’t exist, but there’s ample evidence it does. We don’t need to argue the point.
What we do need to talk about is the role women sometimes play in maintaining the pay gap. For example, many women are guilty of not asking for raises at all. No shocker there. Girls are socialized from the get-go to “play nice”, behave in “likable” ways, and not to come across as “pushy”.
Based on that powerful fact alone, it’s no surprise many women wait around for a raise to be bestowed upon them by their bosses instead of boldly asking for one. We tend to think that if we just keep our heads down and cheerfully work hard enough, our bosses will see our worth (it’s so evident, after all) and reward us monetarily. Unfortunately, that’s not what typically happens.
The other thing women are often guilty of is not negotiating effectively when it comes to compensation. In fact, some of us are averse to negotiating AT ALL. The problem with that is we are leaving money on the table as a result, money we have earned.
I realize that’s a tough pill to swallow. But knowledge is power. So is facing reality and then taking better action. And please don’t be discouraged if you recognize you haven’t fully advocated for yourself in the past, because you aren’t alone.
Sheryl Sandberg has famously discussed how reluctant she was to negotiate before coming on as Facebook’s COO, but her husband pressed her to ask for more and negotiate strongly on the front end. She followed his advice and was well-rewarded, but my point is that, like most women, it wasn’t her inclination to ask for a better compensation package.
Also, box office powerhouse, Jennifer Lawrence, wrote in her essay for Lena Dunham’s website “Lenny” about the gender pay gap in Hollywood and how she felt when she discovered how much less she was making than her male co-stars. Her candor struck a nerve across the country. So did these comments:
When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid … I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early… If I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight.
So, you are not alone. That having been said, let me cut to the chase and get to the really good news here – effective salary negotiation is a learned skill. One you can acquire and put to good use in short order.
With today being Equal Pay Day, WE couldn’t think of a better time to roll out our new partnership with Anne marie Houghtailing and give you access (at a discounted rate!) to Anne Marie’s online course that will provide you with the strategies and skills you need to ask for and get that raise you know you want.
There’s some money sitting on the table waiting for you. Now, go get it! WE can’t wait to cheer you on as you do.