Closing the gender wage gap starts with women advocating for their worth.
Erika Rasure, a licensed financial therapist, an assistant professor of business and financial services at Maryville University, and the host of the first episode of the “Let’s Talk Money” podcast from Cashay and BUILT BY GIRLS, works to “strengthen and empower” people on how to develop healthy feelings and actions towards money.
But she said it’s her female clients who seek guidance on how to negotiate their salaries more than her male ones.
Fears of reprisal or offer revocations swirl in the minds of women and Rasure pointed to social conditioning and biology as the reasons why women are less likely than men to negotiate their salaries. Women are “just kind of conditioned to be grateful” for a job offer and more apt to accept without negotiating.
Rasure said reticence to negotiate pay is symptomatic of a broader issue.
“It translates to the way we feel about ourselves,” she said, “A lot of it comes down to our self-worth and how we feel about ourselves.”
Rasure’s clients run the gamut of recent college grads who are negotiating their first salaries to senior professionals who need guidance on how to fight for promotions or raises. They all share a “sheer hesitancy to rock the boat” that prevents them from speaking up.
Much of Rasure’s work is “helping women establish boundaries in terms of what they will and will not accept and try and eliminate some of that fear.”
Gender bias in the workplace is also a factor at play with women penalized— unconsciously or otherwise— for their personal roles of caretaker or spouse that could potentially detract from their productivity — at least from the perspective of an employer.
What to do
Your aptitude and worth are proven to your employer on a daily basis, but unfortunately, consistent performers might get overlooked or taken for granted.
Rasure’s advice: Take a complete inventory of your accomplishments, achievements, and ways you’ve added value for your employer. You can also keep a running record of your achievements, so nothing gets forgotten.
“It matters what you're doing and what you're bringing to the table, and being able to demonstrate your worth to the company,” she said.
Armed with your evidentiary support and facts, use that as the basis for your case.
If you’ve been passed over for raises or promotions in the past when you felt that you were deserving, Rasure suggested that it might be time to move on and take your talents elsewhere.
“Set a boundary with yourself” she said, “and start looking for something new.”
Read more information and tips in our Career section