7 things you can do right now to advance gender equality 👌
I have good news and I have bad news.
While we’ve made tremendous progress when it comes to women in the workplace, there are still vast inequities that persist today. Less than 22% of women make it past middle management, it’s projected it will take over 257 years for the wage gap to close, and women are more likely to be in poverty compared to men. Because of COVID-19 and its implications, things are only getting worse. Working women, particularly Black and brown women, have been disproportionately impacted with higher rates of unemployment, decreases in pay, and more time spent at home educating children.
If you’re feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, you are not alone. It can seem nearly impossible that as individuals, we have the ability to combat realities that are so deeply entrenched in our society.
But we can. We must.
Now for the good news: as we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, remind yourself that if each one of us takes at least one small step, collectively, we will move the needle to achieve equality in both our own lives and the lives of all women.
Here are seven things you can do right now to take control of your career and financial life:
Put away savings. Like it or not, money is part of everything we do because, without it, our independence is limited. Make sure to consistently put money into a savings account as well as a retirement fund. That will give you the ability to take risks – like leaving a job or starting a business – as well as ensure that you’ll have a safety net when that inevitable “rainy day” happens. Given that money is the number one worry of Americans, knowing that you have a financial cushion will give you peace of mind and help you stress less.
Talk about money. While it might feel taboo or distasteful to talk about money, it’s something so many of us struggle with or feel anxious about, and the only way to push through that is by talking about it. One way to broach the subject with friends or family is to acknowledge the discomfort. When you talk about your salary, you don’t have to disclose all the details. For example, if you’re preparing for salary negotiation and you want to know how much someone makes, you could ask: “Here’s the research I did. Am I off-base?” or alternatively, “What’s the ballpark you make?” As the host of John Hancock’s new podcast, Friends Who Talk About Money, I encourage friends, families and couples to celebrate the power of financial conversations.
Negotiate your salary! The wage gap exists due to a myriad of factors but one way to ensure that you’re not underpaid is to speak up and advocate for your worth. Check out our Salary Negotiation course to learn how to do just that.
Talk about your wins all year. If you wait until your annual review to advocate for yourself, it’s too late. Track your accomplishments throughout the year and make sure to schedule periodic meetings with your manager to discuss your growth and what they may need to see from you in order to get to the next level. A great time to schedule one of those meetings is right after you have a win.
Ask for help. Whether you need help with your career or your bank account, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Doing so not only helps you, but it also encourages others to be open and honest. As you seek support, it’s important that you pay it forward as well. Help other women, particularly those at the beginning of their career who may be feeling lost and looking for mentors. As for your finances, consider talking to a financial advisor. They can help you feel confident and define your goals.
Support policies that support women in the workplace. Though it may take time to pass a law, advocating for them starts right now. Call your representative to support policies that help rectify professional and financial inequities such as Minimum Wage, Salary History Ban, Paycheck Fairness Act, Paid Family Leave, The Healthy Families Act, Universal Childcare and Early Learning Act, and the Fair Work Week. Remember, your elected representative works for YOU, so make sure your voice is heard.
Register to vote, and vote early. The battle for suffrage has been and continues to be, hard-fought. Please make sure you exercise your constitutional rights. Learn everything you need about voting in the 2020 election here
Progress is not linear; sometimes it’s two steps forward, three steps back. So if we want things to change, we have to stay vigilant. We have to band together. We have to continue to educate ourselves and the people around us that when women succeed in their careers and financial lives, we all win.
Now go get paid.
Founder of Ladies Get Paid