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Salary Negotiation and How to Fix the Gender Pay Gap


Nowadays, talk of the gender pay gap is as ubiquitous as any other talk related to salary. While the United States is not the worst country in the world for women’s wallets (e.g. Korea, and Japan), we aren’t the best in any stretch. In Louisiana, women make on average 69 cents to a man’s dollar. To our credit, in states like New York or California, for single and childless men and women, the difference is small. However, studies show that women’s salaries suffer with marriage and parenthood. And the gender pay gap becomes more significant as the salaries become more competitive, the higher one climbs up the corporate ladder.

Systemic issues are not the fault or responsibility of any individual, but in smaller ways, women can take more responsibility for their paycheck. Ingrained in each member of society are beliefs about gender that can inhibit a woman from asking for what she deserves. For instance, many women in many cultures across the globe are taught to be accommodating, which doesn’t make for a competitive mindset. Studies show that women are less likely to ask for more money in salary negotiations.

Reflections BlogThe National Partnership for Women and Families calculated that in the US of A, women earn $0.82 for every dollar men earn, which amounts to an annual wage gap of over $10,000 on average. Women can, literally, not afford to continue this way. 

The path towards fixing the gender pay gap starts with salary negotiation. Classically, traits that serve an individual well in a negotiation are prized in young boys while disapproved of in young girls. This must make many women opposed to such firm speak with their higher-ups But, women must push past their hesitations and fight for their pay when the time is right.

Here are some tips on fixing the gender pay gap through salary negotiations:

1. Prepare

One cannot expect to carry themselves in a salary negotiation without the proper materials. Consider any upcoming salary negotiation to be a test–and one must study for tests. Go into negotiations with statistics and information concerning one’s field and the average pay for someone in such and such a role. Reflect on what one brings to the company and how much that is worth. And if it ends up being little room for salary negotiation, consider the potential benefit packages that could be gained.

2. View oneself as a conduit for a greater purpose

Women often fight harder for others than they do for themselves. So, women entering into a salary negotiation would benefit from understanding themself as an agent for a larger cause. Every woman negotiating her salary is part of a whole movement to close the gender pay gap. It is a fight worth fighting with everything one has.

3. Body language is key

Studies have shown that many people don’t listen–they mostly observe, tone and body language. It is important to enter salary negotiations with physical confidence. If one doubts themselves and slouches, this will be communicated more clearly than any justified pay raise request.

4. Don’t say “I need more money”

Salary negotiations are about understanding the market and your place in it. One’s personal life and expenses are their business and they are not the responsibility of one’s company, no matter the size of one’s paycheck. Avoid bringing one’s personal details into a salary negotiation.

Fixing the gender pay gap is a mission everyone should get behind. It starts with fighting for what you deserve, when and where you can get it. For more tips on Salary Negotiation, please check out what Luminary’s Founder and CEO, Cate Luzio, had to say about it this week on LinkedIn. And, if you’re looking for a community of like-minded women, please learn more about Luminary from our website. We look forward to meeting you.