In our country, the gender pay gap is at 64%, meaning women earn about 2/3rds of what men make for similar work. That's worse than what it was last year - when the gap was 66%. Our country now ranks 74th in wage equality among 145 countries. The same was 65th last year.
An ubiquitous fact: Women earn 79 cents on every dollar a man makes. African-American women earn 65 cents, whereas Native American women make 59, and Latinas end up with just 54 cents as opposed to a white man's dollar. Gender pay gaps is prevalent in almost all industries.
While some of the pay gaps can be traced to women working fewer hours or opting for more flexible positions, women earn less than men, nevertheless. That’s unfortunate, considering they do the same jobs and work for same number of hours. The wage gap grows more significantly with age, and motherhood, in particular, that financially penalizes women, while fatherhood attracts better pay for men.
How to bridge gender pay gap
1. Talk about your pay
- Empower yourself with facts about how much your colleagues are paid and then negotiate for a pay hike.
- If you suspect of being underpaid, then you must discuss the issue with your co-workers.
2. Talk to the right person
- If you suspect pay gap as compared to men with whom you work, then it’d be a nice idea to discuss the matter with either your boss or the HR. Let them fix the problem first before taking your employer to court.
- Suing your employer on grounds of gender pay gap is difficult, lengthy, and an expensive affair.
3. Fight for fair pay
- Gender pay gap widens with age. The older you are, the wider the pay gap will be. In the case of women, the motherhood penalty factors in the amount of compensation they receive.
- A small pay gap will eventually grow into a larger one. So, it's worth evaluating your first job’s pay because your wages will grow based on that figure for the rest of your life.
4. Document every discrimination
- If you’re paid unfairly, you can start taking notes. It’ll help you create a base on which you’d negotiate successfully, file a formal complaint, or you may even sue your employer.
- Save a note of any communication. For example, you can write down what a person has said to you either in an Email or other dated communication platform.
- If you’ve voiced your concern about pay gap verbally, make sure you follow up your claim with an email detailing your concerns, including your boss’ response.
- HRs work for your employer, just the way you do. Hence, if your internal complaints have fallen on deaf ears, then you can send your complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and move the court.
Related: Anti-women Laws: Take an oath to turn the proposed equality laws into reality
5. Consult a lawyer
- Don’t worry about lawyer’s fees as many plaintiffs would willingly offer free initial consultation.
- Fighting for equal pay wouldn’t make you a pariah in your profession.
All communication with a lawyer does not necessarily have to end up with filing a lawsuit. Mostly, a lawyer would help you weigh your options and decide on the best course of action to resolve the crisis.
6. File an EEOC complaint
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a federal government body that implements some laws to ensure fairness in the workplace.
- As an employee, you can file a complaint with EEOC if you’ve experienced gender discrimination at work.
7. File a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
- You can sue your employer in several ways if you’ve been discriminated against, in terms of pay as compared to the men you work with. For instance, you can sue your employer through Civil Rights Act.
- To take advantage of the Act, you’ll have to file an EEOC complaint. Once your complaint has been accepted by the federal government body who’s in charge of enforcing Title VII, you’ll receive a notice acknowledging your right to sue your employer. It’s only after you’ve received the notice from EEOC, you can file the lawsuit in a court claiming Title VII violation by your employer.
- After you’ve filed a lawsuit, you’ll be able to access your company’s relevant documents, and that includes EEO-1 filing.
"We might be seeing less of the kinds of direct stereotyping and sexual harassment that was common in the late 20th century, but subconscious bias and procedures that allow that bias to flourish are still very serious problems," Juno Turner, an employment lawyer with the Outten & Golden LLP in New York, said.
"Young women should ask questions, speak to their peers, and not be afraid to raise flags when they think something improper is going on."
The gender pay gap is real, but it’s difficult to identify, especially if you think that working hard will get you fair treatment.
Read more: 5 Rules women must follow while planning finances