Equal Pay Day: Let’s Talk Wage Gap

by Lydia Johnson, M.S. (Certified Holistic Career Coach)

(Brillant meme by https://www.equalpaytoday.org/)

March 12th was Equal Pay Day, where we raised awareness about the harmful wage gaps between men and women. Today, over 1/3rd the way through the year, represents how much longer than average American woman has to work compared to their male counterparts.

AKA, if you’re a man, imagine that every paycheck you made between NYE and today disappeared: That’s how much less the average American woman earned than the average American man.

It’s worse for BIPOC women, who face even more inequity, with the Equal Pay Day of black women being July 9th (earning 66 cents on the dollar) and Native and Indigenous Women’s Equal Pay Day being November 21st at 55 cents on the dollar.

A common, toxic myth is that the gap is simply due to the different types of roles women vs. men hold– this simply isn’t true. Even in similar work, if we compare “apples to apples” within the same fields and job titles, women only earn 77.3 cents on the dollar compared to men (Global Gender Gap Report, 2023).

Worse, the gender gap got WORSE during COVID-19 by 2.1%.

In 2023, the USA ranked 43rd out of 146 countries, and at the current rate of progress, it will take nearly a century to close the gap for American women. I won’t be around to see that day.

Maternal Wall = Pay Gap?

growing body of research is suggesting that part (but not all) of the gender pay gap is strongly associated with the Motherhood Penalty: the phenomenon where a mom’s lifetime earning potential is docked for every child we have compared to childless women and fathers. Oh, btw— Fathers enjoy a fatherhood premium, where their earning potential actually increases when they have kids. 🙃

Moms’ Equal Pay Day is August 7th, with moms earning 62 cents on the dollar. Even for full-time, year-round workers, moms only earn 74 cents on the dollar.

I’ll post way more about this soon, but for now, here’s a terrifying graph:


So now what? How can we make Equal Pay Day closer to Jan 1st?

As I mentioned above, this isn’t a quick fix… but maybe, with a lot of effort by both societies and individuals, we can solve this problem in less than a century. Honestly, IDK if that’s possible, but we should do what we can to help nudge this mountain along, so here’s what you can do:

At the societal level, we need to take steps such as advocating for the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Salary Transparency Act. ⬅️Click to add your voice to the conversation.

At the personal level, we can do our best to defend ourselves against this biased world by arming ourselves with negotiation tactics designed specifically for women. You can learn more about some of those here, through the website She Negotiates: She Negotiates: https://www.shenegotiates.com/free-resources

You can also take steps such as refusing to work for free (or for exposure), transparently sharing your salary with your peers and coworkers (it’s your right to do so, by the way), and posting your salary on places such as Glassdoor.com.

Lastly, you can enlist professional support on your job search, interview, and negotiation journey by working with a career coach who is educated on the biases women face in the workforce and best practices to overcome those (oh hey, that’s me!).

Hi, I'm Lydia Johnson, MS

Hi, I'm Lydia Johnson, MS

Holistic Career Coach & Founder of ThriveCulture Coaching

I’m a dual-certified career coach and Industrial-Organizational Psychology consultant on a mission to banish Sunday Scaries and help you reclaim your life from work stress. I specialize in helping ultra-busy people design a fulfilling and burnout-free career that leaves more space for the rest of your life. Whether you need to overhaul everything, find a new job, or make your current role work better for you, I’m here to help.

You can learn more about my holistic and evidence-based approach on my website or jump on the phone for a FREE 20-minute consult call to learn more about how career coaching can help you finally enjoy a fulfilling, burnout-free career.


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