April 2 is Equal Pay Day, highlighting how far into 2019 a woman must work to earn, on average, the same amount a man did for the same job in 2018.
While there have been overall improvements -- the gender pay gap has narrowed by nearly 3% in the last three years in countries like the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, according to a new report by Glassdoor Economic Research -- there’s still work to be done. And a lot of that involves things individuals can do in their own careers to affect change.
The average woman in the U.S. earns 80 cents on the dollar compared to her male counterpart, according to the most recent available Census data. If the pay gap closed, it could swell the economies of developed countries by trillions, accounting firm PwC said this week. Here’s how women can find out if they’re being unfairly compensated.
Profitability is the clear incentive for men to take action. According to a McKinsey study, if the gender wage gap is eliminated, $28 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025. Shelly Zalis, head of workplace diversity advocacy firm The Female Quotient, says that closing the gap should be a business imperative for every company’s bottom line. “If we understand that diversity is good for business, then what are we waiting for?”
In a study of 1,008 adult women produced for HuffPost, Yahoo, and CARE by Langer Research Associates, 64% said they did not try to negotiate their pay the last time they were hired. But out of those who did negotiate, a whopping 71% said they were generally successful. So why don’t women negotiate more?
Negotiating is one tool that women can use to close the gender pay gap, says Katie Donovan, a pay equity expert and founder of Equal Pay Negotiations, a consulting firm that works with businesses to achieve equal pay for their employees.
We’ve all heard that mentorship can give women’s careers and lives a boost, but some experts are touting sponsorship as an even more effective means to advance one’s career. The difference is in the investment that both parties put into a sponsorship, says Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist, author of “Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor,” and a prominent leader in research for women and equality in business.
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