As you might know, today is Equal Pay Day; a day that symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn as much money as men earned in the previous year.
Eric and Carol went to the same college, studied in the same class, are of same age, and both have two years of work experience. Both are hired by the same company, for the same job positions, but still Carol earns $31,600 per year while Eric makes $40,000.
And this Tuesday, April 12, Carol’s earnings will reach $40,000 that Eric made in 2015 itself. Her qualification, experience, skills, and job responsibilities are same as Eric’s, but Carol makes $0.79 for every dollar Eric makes. Why? Just because Carol is a female while Eric is a male.
Well, 79 cents don’t tell the whole equal pay story, at some places, the gender pay gap is much worse. April 12 or $0.79 describes the best case scenario, as minority women have a notably higher pay gap. For African American women, Equal Pay Day is on August 23, for Latina it’s November 1, and for Native American women, it isn’t until September 13. While for moms, it is on June 4, considering the motherhood penalty when it comes to salary.
Many companies have come up with 21% discount offers for women, but can that compensate for a lower pay? What could be the reason for such gender pay gap and when can we eradicate it? Well, the study says that it will take almost 118 years (i.e. in 2133) to eradicate the pay gap, but that will require us to take some steps towards it.
Here are some initiatives that you can take to replace Equal Pay Day with equal pay for women:
- Employers could reduce the pay gap, by simply introducing negotiation-free job offers at entry-level positions. This means, same salary for same work for both men and women, without any gender discrimination, especially for entry-level jobs.
- If employers are not willing to change their compensation policy, students should be taught salary negotiation skills in the college itself. And if that doesn’t happen, fathers should teach their daughters how to negotiate.
- Employers can include fair pay policy as a part of their HR processes and should self-audit it every year.
- Before accepting a low-paying job, do your homework. Research the pay that everyone else is getting for a similar position on sites like glassdoor.com, salary.com, or payscale.com. Then benchmark your pay and do not accept anything less than that.
- Ask for a raise, after all, you have worked really hard for it and you deserve the raise.
- Raise your voice when you observe any gender pay discrimination happening around you.