The question is not why do women get paid $.79 for every dollar that a man makes. The real question is why do we as women accept it? Even more importantly how do we correct it from the beginning of our careers? People can argue about the numbers, but no one can argue that there is a gap that needs to be filled. Until the rest of the United States, the rest of the world comes around we as women have to be prepared to go after our worth at the negotiation table.
Why do women need to strive for their best when it comes to pay? It is because women should be in the best place financially to save as much money as they can and they can't do that if they are not getting paid correctly. When I speak on college campuses I make it a point in my presentation during question and answer to point out to the female students in the audience that they need to not be afraid to negotiate their salary. These women are at the same college that their male counterparts are at and have the same student loan debt as their male counterparts, but what is different is when they graduate and accept job offers.
The female graduate decides to accept $15,000 less in salary as compared to the male graduate. Because she did this she has less money to pay back her student loans and so she stays in that debt longer and unable to move into that dream home at the time she wants. She is not able to save for retirement because the extra money is not there. All of this is happening to her because she accepted the first offer instead of negotiating.
I was just like the example above and accepted the first option from the company and came to find out that a male counterpart who graduated from the same college, with the same degree, same internship, a worse GPA was paid $10,000 more than I was! When I found that out I vowed never to let that happen again to me or any other woman. How can women no matter what career they are going after negotiate their value?
At the beginning of your career you have to be able to show the hiring manager what you bring to the table that will make the company money. You have to show them that you will make the company ten times more money than they are going to invest in you. In your first career you don't usually have much experience beforehand so you have to show the interviewer how past experiences in high school or college prepared you for the position. You have to be able to sell yourself and your skills. You have to be so good that they can't deny you! Know the salary range of the career you are pursuing. Know the benefits offered for that position at each company in the industry. If you have all the information the hiring manager can't lowball you.
If you are already working and looking for a promotion during your next internal review then you have to come to the table with your own brag book. Your brag book should be filled with all of your accomplishments. No accomplishment is to small. The entire point is to show in the review how you bring value to the company and you can't show that if you don't have it recorded. What you don't want to do is go into the review and say you need the money for personal reasons such as an increase in your expenses. Keep the conversation completely about the value you bring. When you do this your boss can't deny the truth!
When you do get the salary or the raise you deserve then you have to be smart financially with the money. If you receive a raise strive to live on the same amount of money that you had before and use the extra money to save for the future. If you are just starting out in your first career find out what your true cost of living is and determine how you will live your life that your new salary stretches further. Ladies your work is valuable. Get paid for that value!