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A Peek Into the Life of a Working Mom: Eliminating Pay Disparity

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The dirty little secret about employment is that we are all in it for the money. You may get other types of personal satisfaction from work, but no matter how noble you are when you work, you want to get paid a fair wage for that job. In this country, what is fair varies depending on gender. Equal Pay Day was last week and they reported that women get paid $.77 for every $1.00 men get paid. While there is debate about why, there's little debate about the disparity. Regardless of the reason, that is a problem. (to read a prior post about equal pay, click here.)

Many Women Make Less Money Because We Fail to Negotiate

One reason women make less that men is because we fail to negotiate as often for our salaries. That failure serves as an anchor on our salaries and causes us to be underpaid for our entire careers.  That reality came to the forefront in large part because of the work of Linda Babcock, a CMU professor who wrote the book, "Women Don't Ask", a book about how women fail to negotiate for themselves and the costs they incur for failing to do that. The other phenomena that Linda has learned from her research is that when women "do ask", they don't always get.  The truth is women who  advocate for themselves and ask for what they want are not liked very much and  are penalized for doing so.
So, what's an ambitious working mom to do?! 

Many Women Who Negotiate Aren't Positively Received

If you're like me, you think this puts women in a terrible position. If you're also a working mom you're mad. Everybody likes to get paid for what they deserve, but working moms (especially those with young children) need to get paid what they deserve. The reason is, we sacrifice time nurturing and caring for our kids when we are at work. That is a huge opportunity cost! 

Those kids are the gift that keep on giving. They need food, clothes, shelter, and college. And those things cost big money. Many of us work because we have to. So, my thought is, there ain't no sense in our wasting our time doing it if we are not maximizing our income potential.  So, we either need to figure out a way to advocate for ourselves in a way that gets positive results or the game needs to change.

Some Companies Have Eliminated Salary Negotiations

On the way to work this morning was listening to NPR and heard Linda Babcock discussing this issue and she indicated that the game may have changed, at least at some companies. Apparently, some companies have decided to approach salary negotiations the way CarMax approaches car negotiations--they simply don't do it.  Personally, I am a fan of anything that helps working moms get what they need. Hopefully, all companies create ways to reduce the wage gap. That's an initiative we all can support.

Here's to equality!

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