April 12 is Equal Pay Day, the date that symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Let’s just take a moment to reflect on what that means. Because women earn, on average, only 78 cents to a man’s dollar, they need to work an extra four-plus months to net the same as their male counterparts…and that’s from the previous year alone! If you have a wife, daughter, or sister, or if you are a woman, does this seem acceptable to you?
What’s worse, for moms and women of color, Equal Pay Day is “celebrated” even later.
- Moms’ Equal Pay Day was June 4: Mothers had to work an extra five-plus months to catch up to their male counterparts, since working mothers typically receive 70 cents for every dollar working fathers receive.
- African American Women’s Equal Pay Day was July 28: African American women earn just 64 cents for every dollar a non-Hispanic white man earns.
- Latina Equal Pay Day was October 15: Latinas had to work 10(!) months into the year to catch up to what white men made in the previous year.
And for Asian American and Pacific Islander women—whose Equal Pay Day was recently held on March 15—they have to work 3 ½ months into 2016 for parity.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Fantastic companies like Gap, Inc. and Salesforce have both done their due diligence by ensuring and offering equal compensation for men and women, creating equal pay for women across the board once and for all.
Here are five ways your organization can help to make Equal Pay Day a thing of the past:
- Examine your pay practices and conduct pay equity studies. Most businesses don’t even realize the discrepancy in what they pay men vs. women until they examine salaries more closely. Use this 10-step guide to conduct a pay equity audit. If you do see unfairness, enact an equity increase across the board.
- Adopt pay transparency policies. Transparency and data are keys to closing the gender pay gap that exists in many organizations. Knowing salary ranges for particular jobs and what colleagues are making gives women employees the information they need to negotiate and to ask to be paid fairly and equally to men. When that data is presented and employers are made aware of it, then women have the tools they need to actually change what’s happening in their workplace.
- Consider implementing a “no negotiations” policy. There are a lot of studies showing that when women negotiate for higher salaries, people react more negatively than they would to a man asking for more money. Furthermore, women can be penalized for going off of the career path for certain amounts of time, because lower previous salaries are used to set their new salaries.
- Ensure your managers are leading with inclusion. Our research shows that inclusive leaders who practice EACH behaviors (Empowerment, Accountability, Courage, and Humility) have high-performing teams where everyone feels included.
- Evaluate recruitment, promotion, and talent development systems for gender bias on an ongoing basis. Monitoring and tracking are critical. Analyze your pool of candidates for both hiring and promotions to ensure attention to women and visible communities is evenly balanced. Look at who’s in leadership positions, and analyze what’s working and what’s not.
The bottom line is that we all have a part to play in the fight for equality. Ask yourself what you can do. And then make it happen.