The Gender Wage Gap – How to Get What You’re Actually Worth

Here is a shocking and rather deplorable statistic that you, as a woman, ought to know, and act on. The average American woman who works full time, year round, is said to make a meagre 77% of what a man of similar levels of experience in the same field would earn. This is said to be the result of many factors. The obvious is being that women choose lower-paying jobs, take maternity leave, breaks to care for their children and just simply do not ask for more money or responsibility.

Those who ignorantly say that women don’t have ambition is balderdash. Bloomsberg Businessweek surveyed 9965 students at 112 schools who were graduating MBAs as part of their published biennial ranking of MBA programs. Women graduating business school in this year made an average of $14,548 less in their expected annual pay than men.

Women graduating business school in this year made an average of $14,548 less in their expected annual pay than men.

In this scenario, the women are usually the same age as the contending males, childless, ambitious and therefore weeds out the aforementioned reasons justifying why our gender makes so much less – nearly $15,000 less.

In 2013, 17 or 22 industries that hired MBAs offered women less money and those who were entering finance earned, on average, $22,000 less than men. Women were offered $12,300 less by tech companies and $11,500 less by consulting firms than their equivalently experienced male peers. There is a pay differential of 77 cents to a man’s dollar. Like I said – balderdash.

I will agree on this point: during the course of our lives, most of us make choices to interrupt our career to have children. However, this analysis is carried out during a moment in our lives when we’re just as qualified and available for work. Women who have graduated from the top MBA programs along with their male counterparts still, despite their equal commitment to working a full day, were paid less.

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In theory, women should be on the same level playing field as man. This, we all or mostly agree on, is gender equality. However, accruing the same experience and education as a fellow male colleague, we will get lower starting salaries. For those with a higher education level will earn less than men with lower grades. He will also earn more than us in any industry, including female-dominated ones such as consumer products. Bloomsberg Businessweek’s data, “suggest that employers pay certain people less not because of their reproductive choices or penchant for low-paying gigs, but because they are women.”

Employers pay certain people less not because of their reproductive choices or penchant for low-paying gigs, but because they are women.

Here’s the real twist though, research by Carnegie Mellon’s Linda Babcock has found that men initiate negotiations about four times as often as women – with less apprehension. Statistics prove that women don’t like to negotiate and will prefer to pay as much as $1,353 to avoid haggling over the price of a car. Also, 20% of adult women say they never negotiate at all even in situations where it is deemed necessary. Employment is the same.

Our unwillingness to negotiate and ask for raises has huge financial consequences as we have seen by the aforementioned statistics given by Bloomsberg Businessweek. Why are we so reluctant to barter when it comes to the workforce? Babcock’s research has found that women who are successful in acquiring a raise are perceived as less likable than men who would do the same. Women may fear that being disliked will hold back their careers long term. This obviously, is a slight problem that needs to be addressed.

Be a strong, assertive woman and demand what you are worth.

In order to close the gender pay gap, women need to be encouraged to step up, put their big girl pants on, and negotiate. Be a strong, assertive woman and demand what you are worth. Even if your request for a raise is unsuccessful, it is still a step in the right direction.


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