In a world where diversity and inclusion are championed, it’s disheartening to learn that the gender pay gap still exists, especially for women of culture. A recent encounter with a client shed light on the harsh reality that many talented women face in the workplace. She was shouldering a 40% heavier workload while receiving 22% less in salary than her peers. To make matters more challenging, she was the only woman of culture at the senior level.
The Common Struggle: Understanding the Challenge
Sadly, her story is not unique. I’ve had countless conversations with women of culture who have discovered they are underpaid compared to their counterparts. This scenario is all too common, and it’s important to address it. Understandably, emotions of frustration, hurt, powerlessness, and feeling disrespected and humiliated often surface during these discussions. In some cases, these emotions are experienced in just the first few minutes of the conversation.
Taking Charge of Your Worth: Steps to Address The Pay Gap
The message I want to share with you loud and clear is this: Do NOT exit. Ask for what you deserve. To navigate this challenging situation, I recommend following these three steps:
- Highlight Your Successes: Begin by showcasing your accomplishments over the past 12 months. Share three (or even four, if needed) clear and concise examples of your contributions. Build a solid case by demonstrating your impact. Numbers and data speak volumes.
- Leverage Your Key Strengths: Identify the top three strengths that directly support your organization’s objectives. Being clear about what the company values and how you contribute to it is essential. Your strengths are your assets, and it’s important to align them with your organization’s goals.
- Initiate the Salary Conversation: Don’t shy away from addressing the salary inequity directly. Start by saying something like, “I’m aware there is inequity in my salary. What do you suggest are the next steps to align my salary with my peers and merit?” This opens the door for a constructive conversation about rectifying the situation.
Driving Change Together: The Power of Collective Action
It’s crucial to remember that you’re not alone in facing this challenge. Statistics from the 2022 McKinsey Research on Women in the Workplace clearly indicate disparities in pay, especially for women of color. But change starts with you. By advocating for your worth and taking proactive steps, you not only benefit yourself but also contribute to a more equitable workplace for all.
Share this blog post with your network to build awareness and continue the dialogue on pay equity. Together, we can work towards a future where pay gaps are closed, and all individuals are compensated fairly for their contributions, regardless of their cultural background or gender.
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