To Close The Gender Wage Gap, You Need To Get Gritty
Women generally earn around 80 cents for every dollar men earn, which if a far cry better than it was a decade or two ago. However, experts say we are still 70 years away from equal pay for women to close the gender wage gap.
In the United States the Equal Pay Act became law almost 54 years ago, so how is it even possible this issue still exists in the American workforce?
Experts across the country have weighed in on why we have a gender wage gap. Some say it’s because women prioritize flexibility, shorter commutes, fewer overtime hours, and fewer business trips so they can be better mothers to their children. Other’s say it’s because of maternity leave, needing more time off, or working part time after a baby is born. Another reason experts say is because women are the primary caregiver to smaller aged children and then again for aging parents. Is there really a penalty for women and their pay if she has kids? Unfortunately, researchers have published data that proves this to be true.
Experts also suggest the gender wage gap is due to lack of negotiating skills, lack of confidence, and bias by the employer as the work of a woman is often undervalued. Others state the gap occurs because women are less educated than men and women tend to choose careers in lower paying jobs and industries.
And lastly, another expert suggests it’s none of these, but the fact that woman don’t have the business and financial sense needed to compete for higher paying jobs or executive positions.
For most issues, understanding why and how they became issues is very important before determining a course of action. However for this issue, because it has gone on for over 50 years, we are at a point in time in the country where the better question is…
What’s it going to take for a woman to get paid what she’s worth & close the gender wage gap once and for all?
If you listen to the experts, potentially what it takes is more confidence, better negotiation skills, lack of gender bias, being more educated, having more business savvy, and choosing higher paying vocations. Potentially it may take figuring out how to have kids without it upsetting the apple cart too.
But if a woman has done all those things and works in a fairly unbiased workplace and still doesn’t get equal pay or paid what she’s worth, what then? Might it still be a problem?
The simple answer is yes. A woman can do all these, but still not achieve equality.
What’s missing from the advice the experts give is this… grit. Women need grit. That’s what it will take. Pure, true, and real grit.
Grit is absolutely going to be necessary for women who still aren’t getting equal pay & fighting the gender wage gap regardless of the type of job or career they have, or whether she has a family or not, or her level of education, or her level of business savvy.
I believe grit is a mindset. Here’s a quote from my book, “Winning at Work: Career Success Secrets for Women in the Workplace”.
“Grit can most certainly be a state of mind. Grit isn’t willpower. Grit isn’t even motivation. Grit comes from someplace much deeper inside. It’s the passion that carries you to overcome and outlast any short-term obstacle or distraction. And lastly, it’s about the consistency and courage to remain focused and follow-through.”
In my opinion grit is how you achieve goals like putting yourself through college to earn a degree, overcoming obstacles, losing weight, overcoming defeat, etc. And it most definitely is how you take on a big issue such as getting paid what you are worth.
Is it fair a woman even has to deal with the hurdles of receiving equal pay? Absolutely not. But it is the reality and here’s where the grit comes in… no one is going to move those hurdles standing in the way. If you want it, you have to do it yourself. So the saying holds true, “…if you want something done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher
The grit women are going to need is for the sheer determination necessary to move these hurdles out of their way. Grit is what is needed for a woman to rise up again and again, holding steadfast to what she believes she is worth, and not giving up until she gets it.
Grit is never settling for less than you’re worth. Grit is knowing, believing, and holding true to what you know is right until it happens. Grit is doing what it takes.
Grit is standing up for yourself again and again and owning your worth until there is no question it is real. And lastly, grit is negotiating for what you want and being brave in doing so.
My hat is off to you if you are in the midst of taking on this issue for yourself. My hope is you add grit into your strategy mix and notice how it can make a difference. My bigger hope is you are successful in achieving what you have set out for yourself.
Please know that you are not alone in this, reach out to others for support, and… stay gritty!