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What Can We Do to Walk Our Talk When it Comes to Women in the Workplace?

Equal pay day is just one piece of the equation.

Max Fialla for Clarin
Max Fialla for Clarin

Same work, same skill set, same pay. It’s that simple.

April 2nd represents the 23rd Anniversary of #EqualPayDay. “Equal Pay Day” is marked on the calendar once a year and celebrates the significance that on average women have had to work one full year plus 92 days (April 2) to be on par with what their male counterparts would have earned in one year alone. Bringing attention to close the wage gap shouldn’t be a one day celebration, it’s an ongoing movement; no matter what gender or race you are, equal work should be equal pay, simple.

The wage gap numbers:

  • 1 in 3 Americans, aren’t even aware that the gender pay gap exists.
  • On average, women in the U.S. are paid 20 percent less than men.
  • By ethnicity, the pay gap worsens. Black women are paid 39 percent less and Latinas are paid 47 percent less than white men.
  • Women and men with the same educational backgrounds, experience, industry, hours worked, are still paid less than men in similar occupations.
  • The wage gap starts as early as age 16 — girls are paid less than boys of the same age.
  • The impact of lower earnings for women affects their ability to support their families. This means less money for groceries, childcare, furthering their children’s education, investing in their retirement, and more.

If women were paid fairly …

  • Women would earn over $400,000 more during the course of their career.
  • 3.1 million of working women and families would be lifted out of poverty.
  • The extra annual earnings would pay off women’s student loan debt in just under three years.

The effects of the gender pay gap for women are the highlight of conversation for Equal Pay Day but it happens to be a small piece of the puzzle in the larger picture of what biases women face in the workplace:

  • For every 100 women promoted to manager positions, 130 men were promoted. In the same study, it showed that women only account for 18 percent of C-Level employees, with women of color holding only 3 percent.
  • The “Motherhood Penalty” is real. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017, 71 percent of U.S. women with children work, along with 92 percent of fathers. However, organization wide policies, managerial behaviors, and office norms more often than not make work-life-balance tough for women.
  • 43 percent of women leave the workforce because of obsolete, analogic work models.
  • Female entrepreneurs on average are given 25 percent of the amount of money they apply for, while men on average receive 52 percent of the funding they apply for. 53 percent if women’s applications are rejected altogether, while this only happens to 38 percent of men.

What can we do to walk our talk when it comes to women in the workplace:

  • Empower young girls and talk about equal pay in early childhood. Ensure young girls are informed and inspired by incredible female leaders, and are given the tools to enter the workforce with confidence.
  • We are not born with knowing biases, they are taught and shaped over many years through education, culture, and experience. To change our behavior, we need to make a conscious effort to identify and recognize these biases within ourselves. Lean In Organization has built great resources such as 50 Way to Fight Bias, an activity that highlights 50 specific examples of bias at work.
  • Implement organizational transparency. Transparency within companies lead to more women being promoted, more women being hired, and increase overall gender diversity.
  • Men can be part of the conversation! Men can champion gender equality to show that gender equality is not just a women’s issue, it’s a human issue.
  • Join a global initiative that works towards fighting to overcome stereotypes associated with women empowerment and leadership.

SheWorks is proud to promote #EqualPayforEqualWork and supporting companies wanting to build more diverse teams built on trust, engagement, and accountability. We are living in the digital era where the internet is one of the most important factors of transforming business practices. Internet technology enables companies to find talent from all over the world, wherever they are located and empower them to work remotely and with flexibility.

It’s time companies rethink their hiring strategy, steering away from traditional, obsolete, and rigid working models. If companies embrace technology and change the way they engage with talent they can empower women to work on their own terms, find a balance between work and life, work remotely, and transparently. Not only will flexible working arrangements attract more female talent that is available but bring us closer to closing the employment gap, but will also set the foundation for distributed teams to be built on trust, engagement, and accountability.

Join the conversation at #EqualPayDay.

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