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Closing the Wage Gap: New Report Reveals Women Lose $1.6 Trillion Annually. Learn How to Secure the Salary You Deserve

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The Cost of the Wage Gap and Strategies for Achieving Fair Pay

A new report reveals that the wage gap in the U.S. costs women approximately $1.6 trillion annually. In 2022, women earned 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. This disparity should not be considered normal, and it is crucial to address the underlying factors contributing to the pay gap.

Contributing Factors to the Wage Gap

Three key factors contribute to the persistent wage gap, as identified by Jocelyn Frye, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families:

1. Caregiving Responsibilities

Women tend to work fewer hours due to assuming a significant share of caregiving responsibilities within their families. For instance, data from the American Time Use Survey shows that women spent an average of 2.68 hours per day caring for children under the age of 6. Addressing this issue requires support systems and policies that enable women to balance work and caregiving responsibilities effectively.

2. Occupational Segregation

Occupational segregation plays a significant role in the wage gap. Women are often concentrated in lower-paying jobs and face barriers to accessing higher-paying positions. The U.S. Department of Labor found that 42% of the wage gap is a result of occupational segregation, which was further exacerbated by the pandemic. Efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in all industries are essential to combat this issue.

3. Workplace Discrimination

Gender bias and discrimination persist in the workplace, contributing to the wage gap. The Pew Research Center found that half of U.S. adults believe that differential treatment of women by employers contributes to the pay gap. Addressing these biases requires fostering inclusive work environments, implementing fair hiring and promotion practices, and providing equal opportunities for career advancement.

Strategies for Achieving Fair Pay

While the wage gap data may be discouraging, it should serve as motivation for women to be more assertive in negotiating their salaries. Mandi Woodruff-Santos, a career and money expert, offers the following tips:

1. Build Confidence and Visibility

Share your work and expertise with colleagues and industry professionals to build confidence and establish a reputation for excellence. Showcase your skills during team meetings and leverage social media platforms to expand your reach. Ensure that your name is associated with excellence within your company.

2. Push for Inclusion

As a woman, and especially as a woman of color, it may be uncomfortable to navigate male-dominated spaces. However, it is crucial to push for a seat at the table and engage in substantive conversations with hiring managers and recruiters. Research compensation ranges for your level of experience to understand your market value and use this information to negotiate salary increases.

3. Leverage Job Offers and Know Your Worth

Having a competing job offer can provide leverage during salary negotiations. Demonstrating that you are desired by other companies can compel your current employer to recognize your value. Mandi Woodruff-Santos uses the analogy of a "compensation cupcake" to determine asking price and understand worth. Consider market rates, additional incentives, and unvested benefits, and add a 10% to 20% premium to compensate for the gender pay gap. In conclusion, addressing the wage gap requires concerted efforts to challenge societal norms, promote inclusivity, and advocate for fair pay. By understanding the contributing factors and implementing strategies to negotiate and assert their worth, women can work towards closing the wage gap and achieving equitable compensation.


The wage gap's significant cost underscores the urgent need for businesses, especially new ones, to prioritize pay equity. This is not just a moral imperative; it's also a smart business strategy. Companies that fail to address wage disparities risk damaging their reputation, losing talent to more equitable competitors, and facing potential legal consequences.

Impacting New Businesses

For new businesses, the wage gap presents both a challenge and an opportunity. It's a challenge because startups often operate in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment where issues like pay equity can be overlooked. However, it's also an opportunity because businesses that commit to fair pay from the outset can differentiate themselves as progressive, equitable employers.
Embracing Fair Pay Strategies
The strategies for achieving fair pay outlined in this article—building confidence and visibility, pushing for inclusion, and leveraging job offers—can serve as a roadmap for new businesses. By fostering a culture of inclusivity, transparency, and fairness, businesses can attract and retain top talent, improve employee satisfaction and productivity, and ultimately drive better business outcomes. In conclusion, the wage gap is a pressing issue that new businesses cannot afford to ignore. By understanding its causes and implementing strategies to promote pay equity, businesses can position themselves for success in a competitive market.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/18/the-wage-gap-costs-women-1point6-trillion-a-year-report-finds.html
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