Equal Pay Day: Women Are Still Facing Pay Discrimination – How To Change That
As of 2022, women overall are paid an average of $0.83 for every dollar paid to men. According to a recent GOBankingRates survey of 1,003 American women from across the country, 20% of women are citing lack of fair pay due to gender as one of their biggest career obstacles.
A lack of fair pay has an overwhelmingly negative impact on the financial livelihood of every woman in the United States. Let’s dig into how much women stand to lose because of the wage gap.
The Wage Gap’s Impact On Every Woman
The National Partnership for Women & Families’ January 2022 report, “America’s Women and the Wage Gap,” amounts the annual gender wage gap to $10,435. Further, the wage gap is at its widest for women of color in full-time, year-round jobs in the United States. Black women are paid $0.64, Native American women are paid $0.60 and Latina women are paid $0.57 for every dollar respectively.
Full-time employed women in the United States lose a combined total of nearly $930 billion every year because of the wage gap. The loss of these wages creates major barriers for women in being able to support themselves and achieve their financial goals. It also continues to perpetuate a status quo where women are unable to fully break the glass ceiling.
How Do We Change the Status Quo?
How do women confidently address the lack of fair pay, and better position themselves to receive what they are worth? GOBankingRates spoke with Brittney Castro, financial expert and Mint’s in-house Certified Financial Planner (CFP), to discover which strategies can shake up the status quo.
Ask for More Money
Women must ask for more money when they are working, point-blank. If you feel nervous about doing so, just remember every woman is currently losing $10k.
“Women tend to shy away from negotiating their salaries and benefits when working, and wind up leaving income on the table,” said Castro.
Less income over the course of your working years means less money you can save for your retirement goals. Castro said that with compounding interest and a diversified portfolio over time, something as small as a 1% increase in income each year can add up toward your retirement savings.
Related: How To Ask For a Raise — and Get It
Talk Openly About Money
Open conversations about money have long been seen as taboo, but it’s time to rewrite the narrative to start and welcome salary transparency discussions.
“It’s hard to change the status quo on your own if no one is transparent about pay, nor does it truly allow you to understand how underpaid you might be and how much you should ask for,” said Castro. “It takes a lot of courage to be open about something notoriously quiet, but if everyone comes together, it benefits everyone.”
Speaking openly about money, and what you earn, helps keep the gender pay gap in the spotlight. It also arms women with the right tools. Now more than ever, women need to understand how much income they are losing out on and feel empowered and confident through discussion to negotiate and ask for more.
Get a Financial Education
Part of the toolkit women need to close the gender pay gap includes learning negotiation tips and skills. But how do you obtain this kind of financial education? Castro recommends using digestible resources, like reading books, downloading budgeting apps, attending workshops and watching YouTube videos to learn how to ask for more.
Be mindful of where you are obtaining this information, though. Make sure your sources are credible. Keep an eye out for professionals with the proper designations and qualifications and those experts that are trustworthy and grounded in integrity.
What if the Gender Pay Gap Was Fully Eliminated?
Here’s what life would look like for working women in the U.S. if the gender pay gap was eliminated.
- 13 more months of childcare
- One additional year of tuition and fees for a four-year public university
- The full cost of tuition and fees at a two-year college
- Nearly seven additional months of premiums for employer-based health insurance
- More than 74 weeks of food (more than one year’s worth)
- More than six more months of mortgage and utilities payments
- More than nine additional months of rent
- Up to 8.6 additional years of birth control
- Or, enough money to pay off student loan debt in just under four years
How Can You Eliminate the Gender Pay Gap?
In April 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act. This bill aims to eliminate the gender pay gap and strengthen workplace protections for women. This act requires more employers to report pay data to the government. Until companies abandon the practice of using salary history, fundamental fairness cannot be achieved.
Eliminating the gender pay gap and lack of fair pay is a marathon, not a sprint. As we continue moving forward to achieve equal pay for women, we must remember our own valuable role and contributions.
“My advice for any woman who is looking to close the pay gap is also just to be the best you can be — learn the role, master it, and put your best foot forward. Whether you want to start and own your own business, become a partner at your firm, or something else — you’ll never achieve it unless you strive to be the best version of yourself,” said Castro.
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