“Be like Iceland.”
That could be the motto for the United State to achieve gender pay equity. And yes, we could be like Iceland, but perhaps without all the ice.
A little background here, Iceland recently became the first country globally “to introduce legislation requiring employers to prove they are paying men and women equally,” according to the New York Times.
“Iceland has had equal pay laws for half a century, pushing companies and the government to gradually reduce the pay gap. But the thinking behind the new legislation is that unless the laws are applied more forcefully, the imbalance may never really close,” Liz Alderman writes.On#EqualPayDay April 4, let’s move to solutions to close the gender wage gap Click To Tweet
So as we acknowledge Equal Pay Day April 4, let’s move to solutions to the gender wage gap without the hand-wringing, and lay out action steps–short of moving to Iceland.
Noteworthy is that pay equity is possible in America. Recently Intel announced “it achieved its year-end goal of 100 percent pay equality for both women and underrepresented minorities” for all 15,000 employees, according to Makers.
“We view pay and promotion parity as signals of the overall health of our company as well as a means of ensuring equity for all employees,” chief diversity and inclusion officer, Danielle Brown told Fortune.
The average discrepancy of the wage gap is 80 cents to $1, with women earning 80 cents for the same work a man is paid to do earning $1.On average, women earn 80 cents for the same work a man is paid to do for $1 #EqualPayDay Click To Tweet
“’Those 80 cents are a reflection of one form of economic disparity,’ says Emily Martin, general counsel and vice president for workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center, Washington, D.C, “ writes Daisy Contreras in Northern Public Radio. But, as Martin says, the number only showcases the disparity between overall women and men. “When women are compared by race and ethnicity, the disparity widens: Women of color generally make less than white and Asian women.”
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “If the earnings of women and men who are employed full-time, year-round change at the rate they have between 1959 and 2015, the gender wage gap in the United States will not close until 2059. The wage gap is projected to close first in Florida, with women achieving pay parity with men in 2038. In four states—North Dakota, Utah, Louisiana, and Wyoming—the wage gap will close in the 22nd century.”
According to LeanIn.Org, the organization is launching #20PercentCounts, a public awareness campaign for Equal Pay Day to highlight the 20 percent gender pay gap. “In support of the campaign, LUNA, Lyft, P&G, Salesforce and businesses in more than 25 cities have joined forces with LeanIn to offer 20 percnet discounts or special offers on Equal Pay Day.
In New York, POWHerNy has a full day of events and activities for virtual and real time participation for the movement to wage fairness. This Equal Pay Day Toolkit will help with updates.
And while there are estimates that it will take anywhere from a few years to nearly a century to close the pay gap, we are concentrating on strategies for solutions and the players who work to minimize the chasm that separates men and women from wage fairness. No one would expect to pay for a full tank of gas and receive slightly more than three-quarters of a tank. Nor should women.
“If women can be better armed with information about where their compensation stacks up, it’s likely they’d feel more empowered to advocate for their fair due. We could all stop debating about whether women are paid fairly and move on to other issues,” writes Romy Newman, co-founder of Fairygodboss in the Huffington Post.
Fairygodboss has a new partnership with Payscale “to use a Payscale calculator on Fairygodboss to estimate what you should be making — and see how you stack up,” Newman writes.
“The gender wage gap – and wage discrimination in general – is perpetuated by pervasive opacity about what workers are paid, and the ongoing practice in Corporate America to pay based on the individual rather than on the job. Since wide discrepancies persist among people with identical job titles, it remains hard to pin down whether women really earn less for doing exactly the same work as men under exactly the same circumstances,” Newman writes.
“Our data show that at the start of their careers, men and women tend to work at similar job levels, most often entering the workforce at the individual contributor level,” according to PayScale.
“Men are 85 percent more likely than women to be VPs or C-Suite Execs by mid-career, and 171 percent more likely to hold those positions late in their career. Conversely, by the time they reach age 60, more than 60 percent of women are still working in individual contributor roles, but less than 45 percent of men are still in this type of job.”
Knowing what you know, here are tips to asking for what you deserve and working to close the wage gap in your life.
- Do the research. She Negotiates has resources, training and tools.
- Check with sites such as ZipRecruiter to see where you stand on salary and more in your job search.
- Daily Worth offers specific scripts for negotiating, outlines and agendas to investigate.
- Network with your colleagues and be transparent about salary info.
- Be smart with the money you’ve got. Money Zen can help with investing and saving strategies.
- Stop complaining, start doing. Set goals for yourself, ask for the raise and figure out how to get to where you want to be.
Perhaps one more key piece of advice is that if you work for an organization, chances are that organization wants to be fair. Speak up, start a conversation with the leadership. The best companies do want open dialogue; it’s good business and it’s common sense to treat half the world well, or at least all the women employees in the company. So speak up and work with the leadership to be fair.It’s good business and it’s common sense to treat half the world well #EqualPayDay Click To Tweet
In the most innovative companies with the most desirable workplace cultures, leadership wants to be seen as inclusive and fair and if the status of women in the workplace culture is less than equitable, chances are they know it and are out to make changes, writes Jeffery Tobias Halter in Huffington Post.
“The final closing thought is each of these companies took a long hard look at the current state. If you examine women’s advancement at all levels of the organization, you will see women are congregated in middle tier staff roles and no real advancement (think 20 to 30 percent increases) has taken place to move women into senior roles,” Halter writes.
Halter asks leaders to interrogate themselves. “Are you satisfied with status quo regarding women’s advancement in your company? What do your numbers look like over the last 10 years? If you’re doing it well are you satisfied or do you want to go even higher? Best in class companies are never satisfied with status quo and it’s time to raise the bar, regardless of where your company is.”
Iceland may be the only country on the planet where it is illegal to pay men and women differently, but hopefully the U.S. will catch up quickly.