It may be hard to believe as we approach 2016, but working women do still get paid significantly less than their male counterparts.
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (U.S. Census data, 2013) women over the age of 15 working in the United States, full time, earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. Other figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests it’s narrower – more like 82 cents – but this is still statistically and financially significant.
Pay equity is often viewed as a feminist issue, but the consequences are distributed across the spectrum of American families, because women are the main source of income for 40% of them.Here are three things women can do to increase their perceived value and elevate their income:
1. Get technical. Despite all the talk about rampant sexism in Silicon Valley, a recent survey by tech job site Dice.com, reported on in Forbes, shows that there is currently no pay gap between women and men in tech fields when you compare people with the same job title, the same education and the same level of experience. Where there is a discrepancy, the cause is dissimilar credentials.
2. Don’t assume that a degree will save you. Higher education credentials do enhance women’s earning power, notes Novant Health VP and Chief Diversity Officer Deborah Ashton in Harvard Business Review. But it also enhances the earning power of men, and the pay gap between women and their equally educated male counterparts persists. On-the-job experience can make the difference.
3. Get over the fear of asking. Women’s career coach Carolyn Ghosn tells Fast Company that there is a huge stigma around women simply having “the conversation.” In a survey of 10,000 women by her company, Levo, nearly all women (90%) admitted they had never surfaced the question – nor had they requested more responsibilities or feedback.
The bottom line? Women can earn just as much as men, and many do. While sexism does still rear its ugly head, women have far more freedom than ever to make a solid case for pay equity.
So - learn to get technical with the best of them. Take on a variety of tasks to become a well-rounded, competent contributor. And then, when the time is right, assemble your credentials and make your case.
Ultimately, it is possible to raise one’s “brand equity” at work - no matter what the perceived disadvantage.
The key is to focus on overcoming them - one step at a time.
Copyright 2015 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author’s own. Photo byWOCInTech Chat via Flickr (Creative Commons). No endorsement expressed or implied.