Two Ways Women Can Combat the Gender Wage Gap Today
Women have a history of jumping through hurdles on their journey up the corporate ladder. Fighting for equal pay is one of them.
While the pay gap is shrinking, we still have a long way to go. A study done by Glassdoor analyzed over 4000,000 positions in 2019 and found that the current unadjusted pay gap between men and women is 21.4%.
To help women overcome this disturbing reality, we’ve included some top ways to overcome this obstacle below.
How to Combat the Gender Wage Gap Today
While it is true that the wage gap is shrinking, there are still many industries where this is not the case. Below are two major ways women can overcome this obstacle.
Mentorship: Women that have been trailblazers in male-dominated professions are often available as mentors, even looking to help other female candidates to help raise up. The more women that can be mentors, the more it is possible to break into a particular profession. Searching for a mentor through associations and networking opportunities is a great plan. Network with like minded individuals and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Negotiation tactics: Women are less likely to use aggressive negotiation tactics in an interview and therefore tend to settle for lower salaries. Investing in learning negotiation strategies has been shown to level the playing field significantly. Some other potential strategies simply require a change in thought process. For example, it’s been demonstrated that women negotiate more effectively on behalf of others rather than advocating for themselves. By thinking of negotiations as affecting, for example, other women in the field, colleagues, or family members, a woman can learn to negotiate for themselves more effectively.
By connecting with mentors and learning the right strategies for negotiation, women in the workplace can work to try to avoid some of the common pitfalls associated with the gender wage gap.
This article has been contributed by Sierra Skelly from Siege Media.
Incredible Things Happen When Women Support Women in the Workplace
“Keep Aside Competition and Nurture Collaboration” ~Mani Mukhija
Our minds have been trained to compete against each other since there used to be a scarcity of opportunities at the top as compared to the number of aspirants. This mindset has been residing deep within our unconscious mind which is not ready to change. We have tried this strategy over years now. Hardly a few women could be successful with this competitive approach while the majority of women lagged behind when it came to making it up to the decision-making table. There are so many researches that prove the number of female representation in the board rooms is very less as compared to men.
Knowing that the competitiveness has created barriers for women in the workplace and there have been impediments to their professional growth, it’s time we keep aside competition and nurture collaboration.
The time has changed. There is neither a scarcity of opportunities nor the lack of talent pool in the industry. So, why compete against each other? Why not follow a more tactical approach to raise ourselves while lifting other women up.
Until now, we have been trying to fit-in the men’s club at workplace where we could never feel belonged and could never form an equation of parity. This has been the biggest reasons we lack representation of women in the C-suites.
So, here are some of the ideas to support women professionals in the workplace which in turn will help them grow professionally:
Build a strong network
Trying to fit-in the men’s club at workplace hasn’t worked in any ways to improve our professional growth & status. Women have been made to justify their capabilities at each rung of the ladder while men easily get to the higher positions since the decision-making tables are male-dominated and the unconscious bias tend to follow the trend to give preferences to a male over a female.
However, this in any way doesn’t mean or prove that women are less capable than men in any ways. We just need our own club where we our valued, respected and heard. Forming or joining a women-centric network can help exchange viewpoints and seek advice and support for other women who have faced and tackled similar issues. This sure empowers to grow together.
Virago Network is one such junction where women connect and carry the feeling of sisterhood along the networking journey. It’s a newly launched platform and can be imagined like ‘LinkedIn for Women’ where women professionals connect to support and uplift each other. Remember, we’re better together by all means!
Celebrate the differences, raise one another
No two women are alike in personal traits and professional qualifications. Then, why not benefit from our differences by sharing our traits and experiences with one another to raise ourselves. We need to give up on the competitive attitude. Rather start to respect other’s talents and learn from each other. Researches have shown that women are underrepresented at the top. If we knit strongly together to form a pack, we can eliminate gender inequality in the workplace. We need to also build a circle of trust with one another and have each other’s backs when in need. We need to hold each other’s hands to empower and uplift our societal and professional status and gain parity in the workplace because United We Stand and Together We Win!
Keep Aside Competition and Nurture Collaboration
A true leader is someone who is a great team player first. If you want to grow as a leader, be genuine to your goal and work towards it. You first need to be a supportive team player and a mentor. A true leader is one who leads by example. So, amplify other women by collaborating within the network by providing professional advice and support. Nothing can be more gratifying than making the sincere efforts to help change the place of women in the workplace and bring gender parity by helping each other grow together. Remember, we need our supportive network because it is important for our career as well as mental well-being.
The message to the women professionals is that they should not underestimate the power of women supporting each other at work. When women lift each other, they model the respect and opportunity they wish to see. And the change is bound to happen!
-by Mani Mukhija
What it takes for today’s homemaker to be tomorrow’s leaders
-By Mani Mukhija
Millions of women take extended breaks from work for various reasons across the world. A few most common reasons for women quitting their jobs are marriage, relocation, childbirth, caring for the elderly and social circumstances. Childbirth is one of the most prominent reasons of all, most women go on a maternity break. While there are some women who succeed in getting back to their jobs right after their maternity leave was over, most tend to extend their maternity break and it can range anywhere from 3 months to several years.
While some are glad about the break as they could spend quality time with their children and take care of all their needs, other women aren’t content. They soon become restless. They discover something to be substantially missing. Losing their true potential, identity and financial independence make them lose their confidence. After all, being a career woman once isn’t satisfying for them to just be a homemaker now.
Longer breaks lead to career gaps. It becomes challenging for women to get back on the career track after being a homemaker for a while. Taking a break from work has been as liberating for them as it has been daunting, depending on their reasons and situation. But getting back comes with its own set of challenges.
Not to mention that many of these women are highly educated, professional women who leave their high-profile career positions to be home with their kids or fulfilling their social obligations. They are the ones who attained their educational degrees from reputed universities.
In spite of their high educational portfolios, most women returners continue to face the triple whammy of unconscious bias: gender, age and lack of recent experience. They too often are tarred with the ‘homemaker’ stereotype – assumed to be unambitious, low in self-confidence and inflexible. It’s not easy for them to “jump back onto the corporate fast train”.
They are being questioned about the career-gap and latest skillset. They’re shocked, dismayed and disappointed that they aren’t being welcomed back with open arms at the same lofty salaries and titles they once enjoyed. They have to go down the corporate ladder before they can ever go up again.
How to smash that glass ceiling, while raising a family? How to get back in the workforce?
The Recommended Solutions
Reentering the workforce can be intimidating for anyone, but it is particularly intimidating for women who have been out of the workforce for years. Normal fears of a stay-at-home woman may include seeming out of touch or behind in skill level. You may even worry that a potential employer won’t be able to relate to you or understand how hard you have worked to take care of your home and children over the years. Don’t waste time trying to stamp out these fears. Instead, focus your energy on your dream career to get back into the workforce with confidence. Some of the recommendations below can work wonders.
- Pump up your networking– Do your best to stay in touch with former work colleagues during your time off. Networking provides leads which can help get a job.
- Update your skills– This is your time to invest in your future. If you’re not up on the latest technology or changes in your former field, consider signing up for courses or certifications which can help bridge the knowledge gap.
- Stay involved– Volunteer or freelance on projects as much as possible. This certainly helps prepare you better for returning to work. By freelancing or volunteering, you stay hands-on with multiple tasks and deadlines, doing a multitude of other things adds confidence and valuable skills that can benefit employers.
- Discover yourself– Make the best out of this career break. Try to discover yourself. You may discover a particular skill or strength that you never paid attention at. Work on that skill passionately and become a better version of yourself. This will not only boost your self-confidence but will also help you distinguish yourself when reentering the career world.
The corporates need to understand that returning women professionals are highly talented, experienced and motivated. They will get back up to speed very quickly once they are back in the workforce. The only thing they need to pick up the pace is the support and opportunity to prove themselves again.
Some of the steps that corporates can take to leverage their potential are:
- Options like work-from-home and part-time jobs will allow women to balance their professional and personal lives and ease their transition back to full-time jobs.
- ‘Back to Work’ programs for women, which will provide flexibility and support for returnees. The companies should consider offering formal reentry programs as part of their diversity initiatives. Returnships– the returning professional internship can be an innovative solution to enable these talented women to get back to where they left.
- Offering childcare services in the office campus can help women shorten this career gap and create a work-life balance.