The Time To Close The Gender Pay Gap Is Now: How You Can Join The Fight

Every year, events commemorating Equal Pay Day bring attention to the problem of pay disparities between men and women and serve as a reminder of the ongoing work needed to achieve pay equity. These celebrations also draw attention to the harm that unequal compensation can do to people, families and communities. For instance, differential income may prevent women from saving as much for retirement or from affording other essentials like healthcare. The gender pay gap can also have long-term effects on the economy. Equal Pay Day events can assist in raising awareness of these problems and encourage action to address pay inequality, but obviously, more work needs to be done.

Current State Of The Gender Pay Gap

According to the World Economic Forum, the global gender pay gap is estimated to take well over 100 years to close. Women earned $0.82 for every dollar men made in 2022, regardless of the job industry, type or even years of experience. The pay gap is even wider for Latina women and women of color in the U.S. According to data from the National Women’s Law Center, Latina women are paid just $0.57 for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men and hold just 1% of jobs in the two highest-paying STEM fields (computing and engineering).

Like many other industries, the technology sector frequently undercompensates women, paying 2.5% less to women than men for the exact same role. Women in the IT industry may find it more challenging to grow in their jobs and secure stable financial futures as a result of the pay gap. It can also lead to a culture in which women are underrepresented and undervalued, which makes it challenging for them to succeed in the field.

Consequences Of The Gender Pay Gap For Women

A wide range of factors influences the gender wage gap. Discrimination can occur in multiple ways, including bias embedded in the hiring process and promotion practices and pay discrimination based on gender. The gender pay gap is a complex issue with no easy solutions. Still, I know we are capable of understanding the factors that contribute to the pay gap and then committing to take action to address them together.

The gender pay gap also significantly impacts women’s ability to invest in their careers by paying for training or certifications and even their right to make decisions at home and about their own life. Personally, I was not able to pay for additional training and professional development that I knew I needed to get ahead until my pay increased and I had enough money to cover my personal costs and extra money to prepare for a certification track that I needed to advance my career. I also couldn’t meet with peers after work because it required more spending on my part. Nobody stops to think about these issues that keep women at bay from numerous growth opportunities.

Actions To Address The Gender Pay Gap

There are several things that everyone can do to help address the pay gap and achieve pay equity in 2023 and beyond. As an individual, one thing I focus on each year is educating myself and understanding the specific ways in which the pay gap affects different groups of people (not only my community) by reading books or listening to podcasts or watching documentaries. I also keep an eye on key legislative measures up for vote and make the time to contact my representatives to urge them to support pay equity measures. Last, I make time to use my voice, speak up when I can and advocate for those who don’t have a platform.

As an organization, you can start by implementing pay transparency policies and practices, conducting a pay equity audit to identify disparities and providing unconscious bias training to raise awareness. In addition, companies can also make extra efforts to support/implement diversity and inclusion initiatives, which can help promote a more inclusive and equitable workplace and ensure that all employees have equal advancement opportunities.

I have heard colleagues argue that women don’t negotiate for better pay, and that is simply not true. Men and women both ask for raises, but the problem is that those raises are more likely to be given to men. Women do not choose to work in lower-paying jobs, and women often don’t choose to stay home either. We are left with no choice at times. We need to understand once and for all that women who choose to work ought to have representation, opportunities and pay equal to those of their male counterparts.

The Bottom Line

Although the pay gap has been narrowing, it is still large, and women cannot wait for equal pay and treatment. I know the feeling of being undervalued because I felt the same way when I got started in tech and had to stay late to produce more and better results than my peers to be noticed. These issues can have long-term effects on women’s participation in the workforce, as well as their ability to advance in their careers and to serve as role models for a new generation, of which we are in short supply.

To sum up, the salary disparity is a problem of justice and fairness, and women shouldn’t have to wait to be paid equally for their labor. Today, I ask you to join the fight for pay equity! Educate yourself about the issue, support policies and legislation addressing the pay gap, speak up, advocate for change and take action in your own life to ensure that women and other marginalized groups are paid fairly. Together, we can work to create a more equal and just society for all.

This article originally appeared on Forbes and has been republished with permission.

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