Equal Pay Day | April 4, 2017
I first negotiated a salary...

after finding out what a male friend doing a similar job was making—and that it was thousands (tens of thousands, actually) more than what I made. No, I didn’t get slipped an anonymous note. It was really more benign. I just asked him one day when we were talking about our jobs, and he told me. When he realized how much less I made, he encouraged me to ask for more.

Many women will never know just how much less they're making than their male peers—which is why we have Equal Pay Day to remind us just how far into calendar year 2017 women have to work to catch up to what men made *last year.* Yep. In America today, full-time working women make just 80 cents to the male dollar on average. When broken down by race, Asian women make 85 cents; white women make 75 cents; African-American women make 64 cents and Hispanic women make a stunning 54 cents. The gender pay gap is worse for mothers, grows with age, and exists in nearly every occupation and in every state.

But you know what? Today we fight back. Here's how:

Step 1: Get Educated

How women who negotiate are frequently perceived
"17 months"

 – The time sooner that employees who do negotiate will be promoted
The year the gender pay gap is projected to close
... unless we channel Rihanna and start talking about money #bbhmm

Step 2: Get Mad
Step 3: Get Even

Yep, that means fight for what you deserve. Here are three ways you can do that today: 

1. Know the Going Rate
You may not feel comfortable asking a colleague what they make (and it may go against your company policy to do so). But if you fear you're underpaid, find out some basics about the going rate so you know if you're in the range (when in doubt try Glassdoor, PayScale, or Research has found that women are more successful in negotiations when there’s less ambiguity about the appropriate standards—so any frame of reference, industry wide or within your own company, can help you make a case.


2. Talk About Money
After Jennifer Lawrence wrote an article about finding out how much less she was making than her male colleagues, Bradley Cooper announced he’d start sharing his salary publicly—to highlight the pay gap. At Google, a former engineer created a spreadsheet so she and coworkers could share their salaries internally, allowing people to ask and receive raises based on the sheet’s data. Not everyone is going to want to talk about money, and not everyone necessarily deserves to be paid the same. But how can you know what you’re up against if you don’t know what other people make?

3. Check for Salary Parity At Your Company
Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, did it—and then spent $3 million to fix his company's gap. It would be great if every company committed to this process, but you needn't be a CEO to make a difference. Anyone who has access to financials or hiring processes can do some simple math. Are you paying the women less? Then fix it.

4. Don't Call Her "Pushy"
Next time you listen to a woman negotiate, please catch yourself before you have the urge to call her "too aggressive." Would you think she were pushy if she were a dude?

5. Fight for What You Deserve 
If you're the person who needs to muster up the courage to go in and negotiate for more, a bit of glass-half empty thinking: What's the absolute worst thing that can happen? Now we'll answer that for you. It's that your boss says no. And you know what will happen if your boss says no? You will survive, and do one or more of the following things: a) Ask what you can do to improve and make a plan to check in again in six months, or b) Do these things and also start looking for a new job. None of these things is the end of the world. So stop making excuses, and go after what you deserve.

* More research-backed negotiation tips in Feminist Fight Club—the book—out now.

Additional Resources

Last but not least: FEMINIST FIGHT CLUB—the book!—is packed with research-backed strategies for how to close the wage gap, effective ways to negotiate,
along with a script of WTF to say when you do.
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the book Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett
FFC chief of staff: Sharon Attia. 

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