July 17, 2017

Why are women STILL earning less?

Hello and happy Monday! This is Susan Hyatt and it’s GO time.

This is the 104th episode in a series of GO mp3s to wake you up on your Monday morning and get you going.

In this episode we’re talking about why women are STILL earning less than men.

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Wanna read the full transcript? Here ya go:

The topic of today’s episode is… “Why are women STILL earning less than men?”

I’m sure you’ve seen the frustrating statistics.

I’m sure you already know that—on average—women in America earn about 22% less than their male colleagues for doing the exact same type of work, even with the same education level and the same credentials.

This wage gap exists in every single state, and in nearly every industry. But that 22% statistic really just applies to white women. For women of color, the wage gap is even worse.

The male-female wage gap is closing (thank goodness) and eventually women will earn the same as men. However, the gap is closing very slowly. We’re creeping forward like ice-cold molasses. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the gap won’t close until 2152.

That’s a long time from now. Too damn long, in my opinion.

As someone who’s very politically active… as a mom with a teenage daughter who will be entering the workforce soon… and as a life and business coach, I spend a lot of time thinking about women, women’s careers, and how much women earn.

One question that I’ve been discussing a lot lately—with my female friends, and also with clients—is, “Why are women STILL earning less? What’s going on? What are the specific reasons why this is happening?”

The thing is, there’s not just “one reason” why women are still earning so much less. There are dozens, if not hundreds of reasons.

On today’s episode, we’re going to dig into just a few of these reasons… and discuss some solutions, too.

Let’s start with Reason #1.

#1. Unfair hiring practices that favor men over women.

There are people who say, “Oh, sexism isn’t really an issue these days” or “Discrimination is very uncommon in the workplace. It’s not happening that often.” I wish those statements were true, but unfortunately, people who say those things are misinformed.

Sexism is a huge issue. Discrimination is very common in the workplace. Unfair hiring practices are very common, too. These are very real, very serious issues that can impact a woman’s ability to get her dream job, get promoted, and earn an appropriate salary.

Here’s just one example…

Researchers at Stanford did an experiment where they sent identical résumés to about 100 employers. These résumés were identical except for one key difference. Some employers received a résumé with the name “John” at the top, and others received a résumé that said “Jennifer.”

Then the researchers followed up with each employer to ask for their thoughts, and they had the employers rate the résumés based on the applicant’s competence, hireabilty, and so on.

When the researchers compiled all the ratings, what they found is that—overall—the employers felt that “John” was a “more competent” candidate, and proposed a starting salary package for “John” that was about $4,000 more than “Jennifer.”

Again, these résumés were identical. The only difference was that “John” is traditionally a male name, and “Jennifer” is not.

This is a clear-cut example of an unfair hiring practice that favors men over women. What’s really upsetting is that most employers don’t even realize that they’ve got this kind of gender bias. They think they’re being rational and fair, but actually, they’ve got a very biased way of thinking and they’re not even be aware that it’s happening. But it is. And it’s totally unfair. And it makes it much harder for women to get placed in the jobs they deserve, and earn what they ought to be earning.

OK, so that’s just one reason why women typically earn less than men. Let’s move along to Reason #2…

#2. Being afraid to ask for more.

NPR has reported that men are 4 times more likely than women to negotiate for a higher salary. 4 times more likely. Think about that.

What this means is that if a man is offered a salary package of, say, $80,000 a year, the man is 4 times more likely to say, “Hey, this is a great starting offer. However, at my previous job, I was earning $90,000, so I’d like to match or exceed that amount. And if that’s absolutely not possible, then I’d like to discuss adding more vacation time or some other benefits to my package so that I’m being compensated at a level that’s fair and competitive in the marketplace. Here’s what I propose…”

Meanwhile, the woman is more likely to say, “Cool! $80,000 sounds great! I accept! Where do I sign?”

There are lots of reasons why women feel afraid to ask for more money. There’s an amazing women named Heather Mills who runs a fantastic company called Women Who Ask (WomenWhoAsk.com) where she teaches women how to successfully negotiate for anything they want. Heather also discusses the reasons why women don’t ask. And one of the main reasons is that many women are terrified of seeming “unreasonable” or “pushy,” and they’re worried that if they ask for anything more, there will be terrible consequences. Like they’ll get fired, or have a job offer taken away, or damage a relationship with a colleague or client.

Meanwhile, uh… men don’t seem to share these worries! LOL. They’re asking 4 times more than we are. And they’re earning a lot more, too.

If women started asking for what they want at the same rate that men do, I bet we’d be able to close the wage gap a lot faster.

OK. We’ve just discussed two big reasons why women are still earning less than men. Like I mentioned earlier, there are dozens, if not hundreds of reasons why this is happening in our society. It would take 100 podcast episodes to discuss all of the reasons thoroughly. For today’s episode, we’re just digging into a few of the reasons… and the last reason I want to discuss is one that, in my opinion, is not talked about enough…

Here we go. Reason #3…

#3. Unhealthy obsession and preoccupation with our bodies. 

Here are the stats: 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies. Women worry about their bodies—their tummy, their neck, their wrinkles—about 36 times a day, or 252 times a week. By age 45, the average woman has tried 61 different diets, cleanses, juice fasts, or programs in an effort to lose weight.

What we’ve got is a culture where women are completely obsessed with their bodies. We’re so obsessed, so preoccupied, so fixated on our bodies, and we pour so much time, energy, and attention into this obsession.

This totally used to be me–especially 10 years ago, back when I was obsessively dieting, doing Weight Watchers, and Jenny Craig, and all kinds of other programs.

When I look back at that time in my life, it’s unbelievable how much time I was burning up, obsessing about my body.

If I took all of those hours that I spent obsessing about my body, and obsessing about food, it would’ve been like… thousands of hours. Literally, thousands. I could have used all of that time to do… so many other things! I could have studied Italian. I could have gotten a Masters degree. I could have written a book. I could have worked on growing my business, developing new products, lining up even more paying clients. I could have spent even more quality time with my family. The list goes on and on.

I really believe that, as women, we are NEVER going to close the wage gap unless we can find a way to stop fixating and obsessing over our bodies. Because all of that obsessing is draining our energy, draining our time, and distracting us from the priorities than actually matter.

When we’re miserable about our bodies, feeling ashamed and unworthy, it has a direct connection to our income.

Imagine if we turned our attention away from the number on the scale, and started focusing on the number in our bank account.

Imagine if we stopped obsessing about having a perfectly flat tummy with six pack abs, and started asking ourselves, “What are six different ways that I could increase my income?” or “How could I make an even bigger impact in my community?” or “What do I want my legacy to be?”

These are the questions that actually matter. If we could shift our attention in this way, it would change our world.

OK, here’s my challenge for you this week…

Take a look at what you’re currently earning.

Then ask yourself, “Am I happy with that number, or would I like to be earning more?”

And if you’d like to earn more, then I want you to come up with a list of at least two or three ways that you could make that happen.

Maybe it’s time for a conversation with your boss. Maybe it’s time to roll out a new product or service. Maybe it’s time to market your services more courageously, and really put yourself out there instead of meekly hiding behind a computer screen at home in your PJs. Maybe there’s a side business you could start. Maybe it’s time to raise your hourly rate. Think about all of your options. And then DO SOMETHING.

I am urging you to take charge of your income. Yes, there are social and cultural forces that are unfair, and yes, that makes things difficult for women like us. However, that doesn’t mean we are powerless. There’s still a LOT we can do to bump up our income. We can start asking for more. We can start making requests and propositions. We can create our own businesses. We can study how to negotiate from experts like Heather, who started WomenWhoAsk.com. We can march for equal pay and equal rights. We can urge our representatives to fight on our behalf.

We can do all these things, and more.

Every single time a woman stands up and says, “You know what? I could be earning a lot more, and I’m going to do something about it…” every time that happens, the wage gap gets a little bit smaller.

That’s really exciting to me. We ALL have the power to shrink the wage gap a little bit more, while increasing our own prosperity, and creating even more financial security for ourselves and our families. We can do this. And we must.

It’s MONEY time, ladies, and…

It’s GO time.

Susan Hyatt

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