Today marks Women’s Equal Pay Day. What does that mean? At first glance, it seems like something to celebrate, right? Yes, we’re all for equal pay!
Not quite. It’s a symbolic day showcasing how much longer women have to work to make the amount men did in the previous year. On average, women make 80% of what men do, meaning we’ll work 20% longer to “catch up.”
Further, today is the day marking what women on average have to work to reach parity. That day is August 7th for Black Women. It’s September 27th for Native women. And it’s November 1st for Latinas.
So, today isn’t really a day to celebrate. It’s a day to do something to close the gender pay gap. Here are a few ways we can all take a small action to encourage an important change.
Have a conversation. Days like today are meant to raise awareness and shine a light on issues that aren’t typically part of our daily conversations. Say something – whether it’s the topic of discussion over happy hour or you share your opinion on social media. We all need to become more aware to inspire change.
Be a mentor. If you’re in a position to help another woman rise up, make the time. This week, spend an hour with the interns in your office to discuss salary negotiation skills. Share a book you found helpful with the soon-to-be graduates in your life. Offer your time for job searchers you know to practice mock interviews.
Learn how to negotiate. Like anything, better negotiation skills come with practice. If you’ve never negotiated, start with a book. Getting to Yes is a classic. And a favorite tip I’ve used to sharpen my skills in the past is to practice negotiating everything. The opportunity to negotiate your salary is rare – maybe once a year. However, there are so many things we can negotiate to become more comfortable putting ourselves out there and asking for what we want. For example, ask for a better rate on car insurance or your phone bill, inquire about discounts when shopping or a see if you can get a nicer hotel room when checking in.
Know what you’re worth. Do you know if you’re underpaid compared to male colleagues? Arm yourself with research before your next review at work. Comparable salaries can be found on websites like Glassdoor, Salary.com and Payscale. Conducting a Google search for salary guides within your field will also result in incredibly helpful information.
Get political. In addition to us advocating for ourselves and for other women, we need policies that represent us all. This helpful Two Minute Activist guide from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) shares how you can reach out to your local representatives to ask for better legislation to close the gender pay gap.
How are you standing up for Equal Pay Day? Share with us in the comments below.