Article by: Divya Parekh
Women make up approximately 50% of the U.S. population. As in many other countries,
both employed and non-employed women in the U.S. are the primary caregivers, home
economists, and make the majority of household decisions. Even though half of the
population is comprised of women, they remain underrepresented in vital areas like
finance, business, and government.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. institutions awarded
57% of the bachelor’s degrees to women. Thus, women have outpaced men in earning
college degrees. Studies show that women tend to understand the co-relation of a
college degree and earnings in later life. Moreover, studies show there are pay
inequities between male and female employees in the same or similar positions. Even
though women in professional fields make up the majority of the workforce, men occupy
most of the leadership positions. The State of the Gender Pay Gap 2019 studies
researched the median salary for men and women irrespective of type or level of the
job. The findings show that women earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. It is
essential to answer the questions about pay and leadership disparity between genders,
and what can women do about the issue?
Women need to ask questions, evaluate and analyze the situation mindfully, identify the
gap, set goals, strategize action plan, implement the right strategy, assess what works
well and what does not work well and adjust the course as needed.
It is important to consider questions like:
Is the organizational culture conducive to women’s growth?
Is there a lack of opportunity for advancement for all women in the organization?
Is there a gender disparity in salary, bonuses, overtime opportunities, and stock
Do men get promoted faster than women for the same position?
Do women wait for an extended period to ask for promotions?
Do the performance reviews involve subjective or objective criteria?
Do women negotiate raises and starting salaries as often as men?
Do women get relegated to pink-collar jobs?
Do women experience setbacks due to caring for children and family?
Some helpful tips for closing the gap:
Determine what you need and want to learn and where you want to be in one,
two, three, and five years.
Set goals for your career advancement and identify barriers for goal achievement
Create a roadmap to achieve your goals.
Network within and outside the organization.
Building robust relationships with key influencers such that they champion for you
even when you are not present in the room.
Research various networking groups geared for women at different
organizational levels (management, I.T., administration, entry.)
Take the initiative to join or start a relevant women’s peer networking group. Networking groups can be:
o a valuable resource for support and development
o provide training on how to negotiate salary and non-salary compensations
as well as how to reconcile maternity and career goals
o be the playground to connect with a mentor or women who have already
achieved the goals you want to accomplish
Keep a record of emails, texts, and notes received from peers, boss, and
colleagues for a job well done.
Research women-centered websites like Fairy Godboss and Ladies if you are
planning to apply for a new position or getting ready to ask for a raise. Such sites
will help you determine the competitive wages for a comparable job.
Before going for negotiations, define your agreement criteria:
Desired figure that you would happily agree to.
Compromise figure is a lowered figure along with non-salary
compensations like bonus, stock options, vacations, or something else.
Walk away figure where you are ready to take action like walking away
from the job or take other action.
Meet the Author:
Divya Parekh is an Influence Architect, Business Leadership Coach, and international
speaker. She has coached thousands across 90 countries to brave their perfectly
imperfect individualism and marry it with collectivism for the greater good. Divya is a
passionate human being who believes there is an influencer in everyone. She is
committed to helping people move through the transformational journey of an expert to
authority to becoming a Leading Influencer for the rest of their lives! At the junction of
the shifting tides of gender equality and the availability of unprecedented opportunities,
Divya will share how to be in alignment with your true self as you embrace and influence
the world with grace, audacity, and humility.