3 Reasons Women in Business Don't Get Equal Pay For Equal Work
It's 2011 and women in America still are paid $.77 per every $1.00 a man makes. The pundits will tell you that women have come a long way and that these numbers don't tell the whole story as many reports show that a portion of women in America actually make more than their husbands. However, that stat has nothing to do with the $.77 per every $1.00. Earning more than your husband, doesn't have anything to do with being paid unequally with the men performing the same job you do.
The facts remain that the Equal Pay Act passed by Congress in 1963 require women to be paid equally with men. Just a few days ago, April 12, 2011, we celebrated Equal Pay Day with women sharing their frustration with little progress being made in this direction.
There are 3 major reasons that 38 years after this legislation was passed women are still not being paid equally:
(1) Women's Ability To Reproduce
Some call it the Mommy track but that really only comes into play in highly professional careers. The majority of women have the ability to have children and therefore are stereotyped between the ages of about 20 through 45 as potential stay-at-home Moms regardless of whether or not they have even shown a desire to do so. This is not to say that women who do get pregnant and decide to stay home shouldn't make this decision. Every woman has the right to make her own decision and America needs working women and stay-at-home Moms. The problem is when our society determines what a woman wants without asking her.
Men may not give birth, but they have children too. More men then ever before in our history desire to stay home and spend more time with their children. The sooner we, as a culture, stop stereotyping what the role Dads and Moms should play in the lives of their children, the sooner equal pay for equal work will become the norm rather than the exception.
(2) Speak Up
Women in business must speak up early and regularly about their pay scale. Too often the reason women's pay does not keep pace with men's is because women have not spent the time to renegotiate. Statistics demonstrate that women are the majority of the highly educated in America today. After college, men and women are paid equally and that remains true in many careers into the first five years. Women MUST remain vigilant when it comes to equality. Speaking up is critical to being heard.
(3) Asking For the Opportunity
Surveys show that women are often less likely to be offered the big opportunities at work because they are perceived as being more torn between work and home. This perception is part culture and part misunderstanding as too many women don't ask for what they want. As mentioned above speaking up for yourself is what women need to do consistently. You can't wait to have your performance reviewed by your boss and expect it to be assumed that if you do a good job you are the one for the promotion. Toot your own horn. Ask for the opportunity and then follow through
all the while communicating your value.
Women have come a long way in America and it is time they receive equal pay for equal work. There are advantages to having the work completed by the best person for the job and there is no room for gender bias in the workplace.
So, women in business in America communicate your intentions and ask for what you need - your sisters will thank you - your daughters will thank you and your granddaughters will thank you.