Why You Should Stop Being Polite & Talk About Your Salary

photo credit: Pexels. 

photo credit: Pexels. 


Today is Equal Pay Day. You know this. We know this. 

Women earn on average just 80 cents to every dollar earned by white men. The gender wage gap is more severe for women of color: African-American women and Hispanic women, for example, earn just 63 cents and 54 cents to every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men, respectively.

According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, the national median annual pay for a woman in a full-time, year-round job is $40,742, while men earn $51,212 . Overall, women are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. This lowers in management roles, where women are paid 76 cents to every dollar paid to men. 

Don't freak. There is some light at the end of this money tunnel.  

Here’s where we are at. 

There are some rad trends happening in the workplace. Women are starting businesses at rapid rates. 

They are doing it with less than men. They feel like they can accomplish more, with fewer resources. (pound.) 

They are employing nearly 8 million people and generated $1.5 trillion in sales as of 2015. 

And we are organizing and speaking up. 

As women, we make up more than half of this country’s population (50.6%). We’re getting a larger share of college degrees, we’re doing WORK (In 2013, over half of managerial and professional occupations in the U.S. [52.2%] were held by women), and we’re birthing 100% of our children.

Give yourself a fn pat on the back. 

Here’s where we're not. 

In spite of recent gains (and ungains, which is a word for today) millennial women still report that it’s a man’s world. Isn’t that strange? We have made significant gains and have opportunities our mothers and grandmothers only dreamed of, but most of us still hold the same opinion that they did over 30 year ago: 55% say that society favors men over women. Can we get a collective groan? 

"Millennial women still report that it's a man's world. Isn't that strange?" 

Tweet this. 

We see this happen every day. If there are male and female co-founders, people always assume the woman is the creative and the male is the CEO.

The Pew Research Center has also found that: Analysis of government economic data suggests that most young female workers start their careers at near parity with men in wages. However, the analysis found, women struggle to keep pace with men on this measure as they begin to juggle work and family life. That means we need better laws in place for paid family leave. We need laws that protect working mothers. The National Partnership for Women & Families reported that the wage gap is larger for mothers than for women overall. Compounding this issue is that mothers are currently the breadwinners in half of families with children under 18. 

That means family leave laws need to be at the top of the list of items we’re fighting for (see below for more on this).  

According to the National Partnership for Women and Families if the annual gender wage gap were eliminated, on average, a working woman in the United States would have enough money for approximately:

  1. Fifteen more months of child care;
  2. 2 additional years of tuition and fees for a four-year public university, or the full cost of tuition and fees for a two-year community college;
  3. Seventy-eight more weeks of food for her family (1.5 years’ worth);
  4. Seven more months of mortgage and utilities payments;
  5. Eleven more months of rent; or
  6. Up to 8.7 additional years of birth control.

"When wages are equal, everyone will win."

Tweet this. 

We cannot hammer this home hard enough: when wages are equal, everyone will win.  

What we can do about it. 

Let's make finance the new F word. The only reason money is dirty is because it carries more germs than a household toilet. Gross—we know. But what we’re talking about is pretty gross too. Recently comedian Natasha Leggero shared with us that she and other female comedians share what they make with each other. “To make sure we’re not getting ripped off.”   The more you share, the more you can ask for. And remember, the only ones who benefit from hush-hush salary talk are the employers.

According to a press release from the National Partnership you can call your representatives about the following legislation: 

“Members of Congress are expected to reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and establish stronger workplace protections for women. National Partnership experts say the bill would help close the wage gap, along with policies like the Healthy Families Act, which would guarantee paid sick days; the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would create a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program; and measures that would increase the minimum wage and strengthen pregnant worker protections.”

We can also TALK. SHARE. AND ENCOURAGE OTHER WOMEN TO DO THE SAME. Because until they raise our wages, we should raise a little hell. 

So we talked with 15 women who shared what they’re making with us. And we're encouraging you to do the same. Let's call it the 15 for Equality rule. Make it a priority to share your salary with 15 women with the hope that the more we openly talk about making money, the faster the wage gap shrinks.  

  1. Talent Manager, New York, 26, 75k
  2. Wedding Photographer, 35, Florida, 35k 
  3. Creative Director, Los Angeles, 33, 98k 
  4. PR Assistant, Los Angeles, 31, 47k 
  5. Senior Partner Law Firm, Los Angeles, 55, $950/hour 
  6. Marketing Director, Los Angeles, 32, 90k 
  7. Head of Sales at Boutique Fashion Brand, Los Angeles, 31, 80k 
  8. RTW Designer, Los Angeles, 34, 80k 
  9. Director Digital Content, New York, 35, 160k 
  10. Project Manager, Los Angeles, 27, 50k
  11. Designer, Philadelphia, 30, 97k-112k, depending on bonuses 
  12. Special Events Manager, Los Angeles, 33, 75k 
  13. Junior Designer at Architecture Firm, Los Angeles, 35, 70k. (This salary was noted as high, and the employee said she actually makes 5k more than her husband who hold the same position at a different architecture firm.)
  14. SF Ballet Starting Corps, San Francisco, 22, 40k. (This salary was also noted as high in comparison to other professional ballerinas. “They [SF Ballet] have a budget of 45 million dollars. The same goes for NYC Ballet, which has an annual budget of about 64 million dollars. The average salary for a corps dancer is closer to 30k.” 
  15. Assistant Project Manager, Los Angeles, 25, 42k 

Feel like sharing? What are you doing today to fight for equal pay?