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¿Qué Pasa, USA?  Latinas: Wage Gap & Poverty

Posted by Crystal Williams on April 8, 2014

Living below the poverty level is the harsh reality for over 40% of Latina-headed households, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families “Latinas and the Wage Gap”.  The disparity in earnings is crushing their families: Latinas working full time earn an average of 54 cents for every dollar that a white, non-Hispanic man makes.  The lower wages also affects 40% of the married Latinas who bring in half or more of the household income.  In some states the pay gap is wider and thus more painful, as in New Jersey where they typically earn a meager 43 cents for every dollar their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts are paid.  How does your state  and  Congressional District rank?

Women on average earn 77 cents for every dollar paid to men (a recent report states that women working for the Obama Administration are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar that their male co-workers make).  However, Latinas are making less, as noted below by Catalyst, based on information from the Bureau of Labor:

weeklyearnings

 

California, the state with the largest Latino residents, Latinas comprise 37% of the female population and make up 54% of the women living in poverty – which typically means also having the least amount of education.  In a state where female immigrants outnumber the men, The Economic Status of Latinas report has outlined economic policy recommendations to assist communities achieve equality by, among many suggestions, providing job development training, reviewing the existing wage gap and ensuring that Latinas are paid fairly for their work, increasing grants for female students seeking higher education and creating retirement programs for all income levels.  The report further states “despite many opportunities for improvement, current trends demonstrate that Latinas are positioned to have increasingly stronger impacts on political, business, education and government sectors across the state and the nation.”

In the Economic Status of Women of Color, the Department of Labor estimates that throughout a Latina’s lifetime, the difference in pay amounts to about $854,000.  This loss of income affects their household as there is less money available for education, food, housing, childcare, and other basic necessities.  It is an economic issue that affects the entire family.

lostearnings

Due to the loss of income created by the disparity in salaries, Latinas will likely collect less from Social Security and  pensions (if available), have less investments and money in the bank for their retirement years.

women65

“Marta gets her Master’s  and lost her Mister

Cultural differences exist for some first generation U.S. Latinas entering the workforce and seeking higher education, as noted in Episode 12 (Juana Gets Smart) of ¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A.?a bilingual situation comedy about a multi-generation Cuban-American family living in Little Havana (Miami, Florida), and filmed in the late 1970’s.  This particular program pokes fun at the “machismo” mentality of the stereotypical (and old fashioned) Hispanic male.  Juana is encouraged by her boss to attend night school and acquire accounting skills in order to be promoted to bookkeeper.  The new position would come with a pay raise – she would now make more money than her husband, Pepe.  When Juana announces that she will be going to night school to get her bookkeeping certification, her father informs her that “Marta got her Master’s and lost her Mister“.   Juana’s parents live with her, Pepe and their two teenage children.  She persisted, received her certification and salary increase and as an added bonus, in the process started a paradigm shift in the Latino community.

College educated Latinas are also facing the wage gap, as noted in a study by NerdScholar.  About 2 million women earned a degree of higher education in 2010 versus 1.3 million men, but they are earning 82% of what men earn, according to NerdScholar.  Another study conducted by Ohio State University and co-authored by Professor Rachel Dwyer, finds that “at least early in their careers, women suffer more than men if they don’t have a college degree”.  Well, Marta, looks like you better go for that Master’s degree after all.

Education matters, as the research from “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap” demonstrates:

womenmedian

Education helps close the pay gap, but it isn’t the whole story.

Women are Economic Assets

Women are the most underutilized economic asset in the world’s economy,” says Angel Gurría, the secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.  We live in the richest, most powerful country on earth.  Immigrant families, like mine and millions others, risk their lives, they leave behind their loved ones and their homeland, for the promise of a better life.  Why?  Because this is the land of opportunity.  We are here to work hard, make sacrifices and provide our children and future generations with the American dream.  We can bolster the economy if and when we are paid fair wages.

Latinas are making decisions for major purchases in their homes, Nielsen says in their Latina Power Shift report.  We (Hispanics) are 52 million strong and have a collective purchasing power of $1.2 trillion.  According to Nielsen’s research “Hispanic women are a key growth engine of the U.S. female population and are expected to become 30 percent of the total female population by 2060.”  Apparently marketers are closely following our purchasing habits and they now realize that we are the driving force in our homes.

As we pursue higher education and some of us become “empresarias” (entrepreneurs), we need to have our voices heard (with our votes) and push legislators to make serious economic policy changes so we can all live the beautiful American dream.

Let’s eliminate the rampant wage disparities.  So I ask, ¿Qué Pasa, USA?

VBO CroppedVilma Betancourt-O’Day is the 2013 Co-Secretary of Metropolitan Business and Professional Women North Carolina and founder of Women Wrule, Mujeres Mandan, an organization focusing on helping Women and Minority Owned Micro and Small Businesses achieve M/W/SBE Certifications and grow their business through Government Contracting and Supplier Diversity Programs.  She is a Cuban exile and Naturalized US Citizen;  her husband, children, grandchildren and Shih Tzu, Cocoa Chanel, rock her world.

vilma@mujeresmandan.org

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Equal Pay, Equal Pay Day, Hispanic, Wage Gap | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Equal Pay for Working Women Would Boost the Economy

Posted by YWM on February 6, 2014

Equal Pay DayFive years after the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act-a bill that reinstated women’s ability to contest unlawful pay discrimination and the first bill signed into law by President Obama-analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that the poverty rate for working women would be cut in half if women were paid the same as comparable men, and that greater pay transparency would increase women’s pay.

Nearly 60 percent (59.3 percent) of women would earn more if working women were paid the same as men of the same age with similar education and hours of work. The poverty rate for all working women would be cut in half, falling to 3.9 percent from 8.1 percent. The high poverty rate for working single mothers would fall by nearly half, from 28.7 percent to 15.0 percent. For the 14.3 million single women living on their own, equal pay would mean a significant drop in poverty from 11.0 percent to 4.6 percent.

Persistent pay discrimination for women translates into lower wages and family income in families with a working woman. The gender pay gap also affects the economy as a whole: in 2012, the U.S. economy would have produced additional income of $447.6 billion (equal to 2.9 percent of 2012 GDP) if women received equal pay.

“Unequal pay for women has had a negative effect on women and men, alike,” said IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. “Paying women fairly for their work would go a long way in reducing poverty and giving the economy the jump start it needs.”

“Today, too many workers are discouraged from sharing the pay information that would give women the tools they need to challenge pay levels,” said IWPR Vice President and Executive Director Barbara Gault, Ph.D.

Nearly half of all workers are either prohibited or strongly discouraged from discussing their pay with their colleagues. The gender wage gap in the federal government-with high levels of pay transparency-is only 11 percent, compared with 23 percent nationwide.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.

Posted in Equal Pay, Gender Discrimination, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Military Women Know How to ‘Lean In’

Posted by YWM on April 5, 2013

kayla_head_shot_normalKayla Williams
Author, Truman National Security Project Fellow
This article was first posted on the Huffington Post.

There have been dozens of op-eds and blogs circulating recently in response to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, and I’ve been devouring them in my limited free time. As a member of one of the key demographics her book targets — a working woman with small children — that means I’ve peered at many of them on the tiny screen of my smartphone in spare moments on the train or while my kids nap. The cross-talk about structural changes is, of course, valuable as we lobby for necessary systemic shifts.

While reading all the opinions, I realized that the Army already taught me how to lean in on a personal level. Serving in the military taught me a number of skills that have been essential to my success since I reentered the civilian world — and contain valuable lessons for other women:

1. Presentation Matters

How you present yourself in the military is often governed by regulation: the wear of the uniform, acceptable haircuts or hairstyles, even authorized shades of eyeshadow or nail polish are laid out. Part of this is for uniformity — but the degree to which you choose to obey the regulations in given circumstances and how much care you put into your appearance sends other signals as well. Showing up to a promotion board in a wrinkled uniform and unpolished boots would be noted unfavorably by those rating your readiness to rise in the ranks. In the early stages of my Army career, my male colleagues often ignored me because I didn’t communicate with confidence — what is known as ‘command voice’ in the military.

This carries over in the civilian world. Though dress codes are not laid out in regulation, the informal rules about appropriate attire can be just as important. People consider women wearing some — but not too much — makeup more competent. The evidence shows that women have plenty of experience listening to “mansplaining”: research has shown that men tend to lecture women even when women have more expertise on a given topic. The unfortunate habit of ending sentences on a questioning ‘up-note’ may add to that by making some women sound unsure of themselves. Posture is another key part of self-presentation: I can often recognize my fellow veterans by that alone. Those who have served in the military tend to stand up straight. When we lean in, it is not with slumped shoulders. And it matters: not only are others more likely to respect those with expansive posture, it also makes you feel more powerful and be more likely to take action.

2. Emotional Control

I got fired from my second job out of college partly because I couldn’t control my emotions in the office. My new boss and I did not get along, and she was a yeller. Several times after she publicly yelled at me for perceived failings, I cried in front of my colleagues. This experience indirectly led to my enlistment: when weighing my options, I clearly remember thinking “I bet in basic training I’ll learn to get screamed at without bursting into tears.” And I was right: I developed the ability to push down anger, frustration, humiliation and grief until the time was more appropriate.

This skill was particularly important as a woman: We are automatically assumed to be more emotional. Men who tear up after tragedies are seen as compassionate; women who do the same as weak. I may find this ridiculous and work to change that misperception, but in the meantime, I also know that I have to work harder to overcome that stereotype. In the civilian world, my ability to remain calm, cool and collected while men around me lost their tempers has given me tremendous credibility — and when I do show a flash of genuine anger, it is taken more seriously for being rare. Emotional control is a tremendous asset.

3. Prioritization, Planning and Decisiveness.

When I was in Iraq, I was promoted to sergeant and put in charge of a team. As the team lead, I was responsible for accomplishing missions while also ensuring my team had all necessary equipment and supplies. We had a limited amount of space to carry our technical equipment, food, water, clothing and other personal supplies, weapons, fuel and more. As the leader, you can solicit input — but when it comes down to the moment, you must be decisive — and possibly ruthless in choosing priorities. The military teaches a process called “backwards planning” that is inherently logical: You take the desired end state and figure out what interim tasks need to be accomplished in order for that to be reached. I use this constantly both at work and at home: If a report is due on the last day of March, I sit down and count out exactly how many days it takes to go through the publications process and review to determine when a final draft must be complete, count back from there to determine when a rough draft is due, and so forth.

My husband and I both have full-time jobs, and we have two small children. Each day is a careful dance: if we leave the house fifteen minutes late, worsening traffic means we’ll actually be half an hour late to work. We’ve decided to prioritize eating home-cooked dinners together as a family, and making that happen requires careful menu planning, grocery shopping, timing and communication. I value sleep more than cleaning — so the house gets messy, and we pay a cleaning service to come every two weeks. If we want to go on a date, we have to arrange for a babysitter weeks in advance. Personally and professionally, I constantly rank priorities, backwards plan to accomplish goals and make swift decisions when necessary. Too many people hem and haw on decisions until it is too late and their preferred option is no longer available or are unable to backwards plan and end up delivering projects late; managers seem to genuinely believe they can tell subordinates that “everything is top priority.”

4. Perspective

On my wedding day, the organizer repeatedly told me I was the calmest bride she’d ever seen. This baffled me — it was a happy day, a celebration of love. What was there to worry about? My sister, who had my dress, had gotten lost and was running a bit late. I wasn’t worried — the event would not start without me! The same thing happens when I give speeches or appear on television; people are surprised that I am calm. “What’s the worst possible outcome?” I ask, then answer: “I’d be temporarily embarrassed if I say something stupid. No one is shooting at me.” That sense of perspective may be the most important lesson I brought back from Iraq: if no one is going to die, it probably isn’t worth a high degree of panic.

5. Strength

I didn’t know if I could make it in the military when I enlisted. The Army invests a great deal of resources training troops — by the time we went to war, in addition to training on how to speak Arabic and do my job, I’d spent hours drilling on how to use my weapon, work with my team, perform first aid and more, not to mention the daily physical fitness training. After years of vaguely feeling that my body was just something men looked at, it was something of a surprise for me to learn that with practice, it could run 7 miles, carry a 35-lb rucksack 12 miles in under 4 hours, do 55 pushups in two minutes, and more. (After my daughter was born, I had a similarly-startling realization that my breasts are not just ornamental, they can make food for another human being.)

When I was called to translate as we provided first aid for three injured civilians, it was tremendously calming and affirming to feel that training kick in: Knowing where in the medical supply kit to find what supplies was practically muscle memory. I could see the infantry troops naturally take up a defensive perimeter and scan their sectors of fire: It was a fluid, practiced event. For hours, I did what I had to do, forgetting to eat or drink. It wasn’t until we got in the Humvee to head back that the emotional side hit me — along with hunger and thirst. I hadn’t fallen apart or freaked out. I had done my job. Being prepared was an important part of that, as was not having to do it alone: I was powerfully aware of being part of a team.

Today, that knowledge of my own strength and competence stays with me like a talisman. It gives me pride and confidence to know that if I see a car accident on the way home, I can stop and provide emergency first aid until professional assistance arrives — I won’t faint or panic at the sight of blood or gore. When things are rough, I tell myself, “If I could handle a year in Iraq, I can handle this.” I’m not special –but humans are tough. But numerous studies have shown that women underestimate their abilities. Find ways to recognize your own strength.

The military is not right for everyone, and it can be a tremendously difficult place for women. Women in the military face promotion gaps at some ranks in some services, are less likely to reenlist and disproportionately face sexual harassment and assault. But military women get equal pay for equal work: base pay is calculated from time in grade and time in service. We also have access to the same health care, family support and education benefits that have made military service attractive to so many.

The internal benefits, however, have been most important to me. My time in the military taught me how to present myself effectively; control my emotions; prioritize, plan and be decisive; maintain perspective; and know my strength. Some women may gain those abilities in other settings, but college and work alone had not developed them in me. These skills have been both professionally and personally valuable: today, I’m a published author and recognized advocate who balances full-time work, motherhood and an active public role. The Army taught me to lean in — and to stand up straight and use my command voice while I do. I’m grateful.

Posted in Career Advancement, Equal Pay, Joining Forces for Women Veterans, Military, Uncategorized, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Equal Pay For All or At Least the Blondes

Posted by YWM on July 31, 2012

Our guest blogger today is Danielle Eisner, a small business owner in South Carolina and a member of BPW/Breakfast of Spartanburg, SC.  This blog is adapted from a speech she gave March 24, 2012 for the BPW/South Carolina Young Careerist competition. We congratulate Danielle on being selected South Carolina’s 2012 Young Careerist. 

 Equal Pay For All

My name is Danielle Eisner and I own a wedding venue in Spartanburg, SC.  Business has been good, so I would like to hire ALL of you ladies out there to help me work the wedding events.  Champagne and wedding cake for everyone!  BUT, since I am blonde and rumor has it that blondes have more fun, I am going to pay my blonde employees more than my brunette employees.  Now, now brunettes, I don’t care how many weddings you’ve attended in the past, or if you were the life of the party in college – in my mind, none of that qualifies you to earn as much as the blondes.  And since I’m the owner of the business, I can make the rules and pay y’all whatever I want, even if you’re doing the exact same job.

 Sound ridiculous?

Well, it is ridiculous.  It is ridiculous that two people can be paid different wages for the same work. And gender or race (or hair color) most certainly should not determine a person’s salary.  The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, making it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform the same work.  Back then, women earned 59 cents to every dollar earned by men.  In 2009, the gap narrowed to 77%.  I suppose we should be thrilled with our “raise”, earning 77 cents to every dollar a man makes in the same job.  But the fact is women are still being discriminated against in the workplace.  And the wage gap is even greater for minorities, with African American women earning 69% of men and Latina women earning only 59% of men in the workplace[1].

SO, how do we change this?  Education is the number one tool we have in this fight against pay discrimination against women and minorities.  We need to make everyone aware about pay inequity – women AND men, business owners, managers AND workers.  The more we talk about the issue, the more support and momentum we can gain, and hopefully we can forge some REAL change, both legislatively and in actual business practices.

We all took a first step by joining a women-focused professional organization. Business and Professional Women’s Foundation empowers working women to achieve their full potential, and creates Successful Workplaces which value the skills of working women and practice work/life balance, equity and diversity.  By introducing new women to BPW, we can educate and empower other women in the workforce.

We need to encourage every working woman (and sympathetic man) we know to contact our local legislators to tell them how important equal pay is to us.  We should ask them to sign a Fair Pay Pledge, indicating that they will support pay equality legislation (including the Paycheck Fairness Act) and they will ensure pay equity practices in their own businesses.

We should support and encourage participation in local activities on Equal Pay Day.  Equal Pay Day was started in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages[1].  This year Equal Pay Day was Tuesday, April 17.  Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay, and April 17th symbolized how far into 2012 women needed to work to earn what men earned in 2011.   Equal Pay Day events are used to educate the community that Equal Pay isn’t just a “women’s issue”, but it’s a “business issue” too and the pay disparities effects the economic stability of the entire community.

On behalf of BPW, let’s bring “The Wage Project workshops to our local community.  Did you know that year out of college; women working full-time earn only 80% as much as their male colleagues[1]?  That wage gap will only increase, and that girl has the potential to earn roughly 1 million dollars less than a man over the course of her career.  Smart Campus Negotiation Workshops provide college women the knowledge and skills to negotiate salaries and benefits.  The Wage Project also offers salary negotiation workshops for working women and women returning to the workforce.

Lastly, we should each encourage our OWN places of employment to do a Workplace Pay Audit to discover if discrimination is happening in our own backyard. Let’s try to make some real changes at the local level.  Employers play a major role in ending the wage gap and treating women fairly in the workplace.  BPW has an Employer Pay Equity Self-Audit tool on its website to help businesses do a self-evaluation of their recruitment and promotion processes, and to help establish consistent and fair pay practices for all workers.

Achieving pay equity is within our reach.  Together, we can educate the public and with more voices we can make a difference.

You can learn more about Danielle Eisner and her business  by visiting her website http://www.duncanestate.com/ or her Facebook page www.Facebook.com/Duncan.Estate.SC

Posted in Equal Pay, Equal Pay Day, Misbehavin' Notification, Pay Equity, Uncategorized, Wage Gap | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Women’s News to Chew On: Link Love for Lunch

Posted by YWM on June 22, 2012

Successful, Equitable Workplaces

 Women who have succeeded in business should be brave enough to share their achievements in order to inspire others and not shy away from publicity [Newsday]

Anniversary of Walmart V Duke is marked by push for equal pay [Care2]

MA women’s commission presses for equal pay and sick days [Boston Herald]

Queen bees, mentors and the boss problem [Business Week]

Even women doctors can’t escape the pay gap [Forbes]

Why women still can’t have it all.  This article is generating quite a discussion in the media and blogosphere [The Atlantic]

Gender make of of UVA Board of Governors is questioned [Washington Post]

The impossible juggling act: motherhood and work [CAP Radio]

Saluting Misbehavin’ Women

60 women named to League of Extraordinary Women [Fastcompany]

WWII veteran devoted her life to service [Tulsa World]

28 top business women to watch [DRShannonreece]

Elinor Ostrom, only woman to win Nobel Prize for Economics dies [Huffington Post]

Ms Magazine is 40 years old [Huffington Post]

Military/Veterans

VA should accelerate plans to help female veterans [Boston.com]

Senate Bill aims to help homeless women veterans [Air Force Times]

Documentary looks at post service challenges for female troops [Ruptured Duck]

Inequities plague women veterans [State of Heath]

“Invisible War” film documentary examines rape in the military [Washington Post]

Allow women veterans married to veterans to have their own headstones[UserVoice]

Other News of Note

State Department creates global sports mentor program for women [Business Week]

40 years after Title IX women still lag in tech fields [Delmarva Now]

This issue of Link Love is sponsored by GEICO. GEICO’s affinity partnership supports BPW Foundation programs and research to ensure women’s success in the workplace and beyond. Click here or call 800-368-2734 to obtain a simple, no-obligation rate quote. Mention you are part of the BPW Foundation network to be eligible for exclusive discounts. When you “click” to complete an insurance quote, GEICO makes a financial contribution to BPW Foundation, so please take some time to “CLICK!”

 

Posted in Equal Pay, Feminism, Successful Workplaces, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

3 strategies to get the pay you deserve without being greedy or pushy

Posted by ptanji on May 31, 2012

By Patty Tanji
First published on the Next Steps Follies

Getting paid what you are worth is neither greedy nor pushy but rather earned and must be expected.

Do the Research

1.  Before asking your boss for a raise ask Mr. Google: Determine if you are being underpaid, overpaid, or somewhere in between. You must find out what people in other companies are paid who do your job and also those in your current company.

What do other companies pay?  Mr. Google lists many sites. Salary.com, payscales.com, glassdoor.com, simplyhired.com.

I did a quick search on “dog kennel maintenance wages’ spurned on by a teenage friend’s story. Turns out she is paid 30 cents/hour less than her colleague, a male, her age, same grade (11th ).  Check out the results here: http://www.simplyhired.com/a/salary/search/q-dog+kennel+maintenance

The salary range is daunting but can be made more accurate by putting in more data like age, experience, education, etc. Do not think of the lowest range as a place to start. Determine the level of skill, responsibility, education, years of service, etc. before coming up with your own range from which to begin negotiation.

What does your boss pay? Asking what others make inside your company is a little more tricky and often frowned upon by employers. And, like the example above, where my teenage friend learned she was getting paid less than her colleague, the information can be learned quite by accident. She was verifying hours worked with her team member who showed her his pay stub.  So, employees do learn what others make but mostly by accident.

Another way to find out what your boss pays other employees at your company is to ask, at an appropriate time and in an appropriate manner. As an exploration of  what your quality of life will be like in the future if you stay employed there. You might try asking:

How does my salary fit with how others are paid in the company?

Is my salary at the top of the pay scale?  Is there room for growth?

Am I paid more or as much as others?

In case you are worried that your boss will fire you if you ask your colleague what she is getting paid, check out this article. Seems the National Labor Relations Act say otherwise:  http://www.askamanager.org/2012/01/can-an-employer-require-you-to-keep-your-salary-confidential.html

So now you know what you should be paid. Go ask for it!

Money is a Funny Word

2.  Now lets talk about the words “greedy” and “pushy”.  In her book “Earn What Your Worth”, Nicole Williams lists the following words to determine how you feel about money. Then, of course, the rest of the book she tries to convince you that money is not a dirty word.

So, what do you think about these words?  Smart, strong, attractive, weak, greedy, efficient powerful, cutthroat, spoiled, innovative, deserving, cruel, self-centered, peaceful, selfish, generous, inspiring, ugly, disciplined, desirable.

Do these words describe how you feel about money and the people who have it? If so, lets do a little mindset shift shall we? Money is your friend. It is an indication of positive flow of energy in your life. It is the method through which you can fully show up and give your greatest gifts. Always being worried about where you next meal is going to come, or how you are going to pay for your child to play on the soccer team next season is not going to help you live your best life. You deserve it.

I am an advocate for strong pay equity laws in my state of Minnesota.  As result of our laws, women are sometimes given raises, the result of mandatory pay equity audits. These audits reveal that women are sometimes underpaid, according to their skill and responsibility levels. However, because these raises are very public (http://brainerddispatch.com/news/2011-01-25/equity-law-leads-pay-raise) there is often a sense of guilt that accompanies them possibly because they think they are taking away money from taxpayers. A very limiting view of money indeed.

Your Best Advocate

3. Think like an advocate. I am an advocate for fair pay for the public at large.  You are an advocate for yourself.  No one is going to negotiate a better salary for you than you. Unless you work in a unionized workplace, which is rare these days, you’re going to have to step up! Your boss or the human resource professionals at your company have been trained about compensation and benefits and many of them have graduate degrees on the subject. You must too. Know what your family’s needs are today and in the future. College expenses, increased car insurance once your teen starts driving, sports programs, retirement. Determine what you want and ask for it.

Your turn! Have you asked for raise at any time in your career? How did it go?

Posted in Career Advancement, Equal Pay, Financial Security, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Equal Pay and the Single Woman

Posted by egehl on May 30, 2012

By Business and Professional Women’s Foundation friend Elisabeth Gehl

As a society, we are obsessed with anything to do with marriage: falling in love, glamorous weddings, gorgeous rings, stunning dresses, and happily ever after.  Consequently single women typically feel that their married counterparts always have a leg up in getting society’s focus and attention.  And while that may be true in many regards, it’s not the case when it comes to electing our political leaders.  Single women proved to be extremely influential in the last two election cycles, and will undoubtedly be again this November.  As a result, Congressional leaders are shifting their priorities this year to move legislation forward that impacts all women, but especially single women.

The number of single women in this country continues to grow and candidates are taking notice. There are 55 million single, divorced, separated or widowed women eligible to vote this year and they share the same unique needs as all women, but often with a further emphasis because most are taking care of themselves, and sometimes their families, alone.

The needs of single women and the issues facing them span the gamut from Generation Y just getting out of college with looming student loans, to the widow that is struggling every month to survive on her Social Security check.  Women now make up about half of all workers and among families with children one in four is headed by a single parent. Many single women feel very vulnerable in their ability to stay economically afloat, and especially need policies that can give them a foundation to succeed.  This is finally starting to resonate with legislators because these women represent an important constituency, and have the ability to determine the outcome of this year’s election.

In 2008, unmarried women were among Barack Obama’s most loyal supporters.  This group of women turned out in droves four years ago and delivered 70 percent of their votes to him.  Two years later during the 2010 mid-term election, the opposite happened when many of them stayed home, and as a result Democrats lost the House and had their Senate majority decreased.  Democrats want to prevent that from happening again with so much at stake for a wide array of women’s issues, including equal pay.

Determined to get single women re-energized and engaged in this year’s election, Senate leaders are reshaping their legislative agenda and advancing an equal pay bill this month, the Paycheck Fairness Act that will enhance women’s ability to win pay Equal Pay Daydiscrimination lawsuits. Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act by improving remedies for pay discrimination, prohibiting employer retaliation, and facilitating class action suits in equal pay claims, among other strategies.

On average, single women have lower household income than married women therefore policies like the Paycheck Fairness Act that address pay disparities are of particular importance to this population.  As our economy continues to be on life support, single women are feeling economically marginalized and that their unique needs and challenges are not being adequately addressed.  Many consider paycheck fairness as one of their top economic issues because they know that to succeed financially they need to be on an equal level playing field with their male counterparts.

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Join us by sharing this and the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

HERvotes Blogs

Justice for Working Women, Jewish Women International

The Wage Gap: Collective Change Not Choice, National Council of Women’s Organizations

A Jewish Call for Equal Pay, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism

The Facts Behind the Call for Equal Pay, NOW

American Women and Families Deserve a Vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, National Partnership for Women and Families

HERvotes: Paycheck Equality: It’s Not a Suggestion, It’s the Law | CLUW

Posted in Equal Pay, Gen X, Gen Y, HERvotes, Pay Equity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Nowhere Near Equal: Reflections on Equal Pay Day

Posted by YWM on April 17, 2012

 by Kathy Groob,
Publisher ElectWomen Magazine

Tonight I’ll be speaking to the Coshocton Ohio Chapter of The Business & Professional Women’s Organization in honor of Equal Pay Day. The National Committee on Pay Equity first initiated Equal Pay Day in 1996. It’s always on a Tuesday, to represent how far into the workweek women have to work in order to earn what men earn for equal work. Because women on average earn less than men, they must work longer to earn the same amount of pay.

Women who work full time earn about 77 cents for every dollar men earn. Compared to white men, African American women make 70 cents on the dollar (African American men make 74 cents); Hispanic or Latina women make about 60 cents (Hispanic men make almost 66 cents).

The National Committee on Pay Equity, along with hundreds of women’s organizations across the globe believe that equal pay for equal work is a simple matter of justice for women.

Wage discrimination impacts the economic security of families today and directly affects retirement security as women look down the road.

But despite the Equal Pay Act and many improvements in women’s economic status over the past 48 years, wage discrimination still persists and is attributable in part to the Equal Pay Act’s limited scope. Not only does it fail to cover wage discrimination based on race (although Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act does), it also fails to provide equal pay for jobs that are comparable but not identical. Further, it excludes part-time or contingent workers, and does not allow groups of workers to file class action suits.

I’ve spent over 30 years as a businesswoman and have my fair share of stories about feeling discriminated against, undervalued for the results I was producing, and being paid less than what I was worth. Until I left to run for the Kentucky Senate, I was a Vice President at a large real estate development and construction firm. I was the first female at the executive level in my company and working in an industry that was heavily dominated by men.

Most days I was the only female in meetings and attending industry events. Over time I was able to make positive changes for the women in the organization and helped recruit other women at leadership levels.

The National Committee on Equal Pay has a website and on it is a list of suggestions for what employers and individuals can do to promote equal pay for women.

One of the items for individuals is to contact your state legislators and members of Congress asking them to support equal pay legislation.

But with the majority of those state legislative and Congressional members being men, how much of a priority will it be for them to level the playing field for men?

Without enough women in elected office, women in business, women in law enforcement, education, health care and even in the entertainment and movie businesses, we will continue to be under valued and under paid.

Until we are fully represented at the highest levels in this country, women must band together, support each other and work to advance women in the workplace and in politics. When one woman succeeds, we all succeed.

Information provided by the National Committee on Equal Pay.

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On Equal Pay Day, Step Up or Step Out of the Way

Posted by YWM on April 17, 2012

By Deborah L. Frett
CEO, Business and Professional Women’s Foundation

Deborah L. Frett, BPW Foundation CEO

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics:

  • Female high school graduates are more likely than male graduates to have taken geometry, algebra II, pre-calculus, biology, and chemistry.
  • Females are more likely than their male classmates to participate in music or performing arts, belong to academic clubs, work on the school yearbook or newspaper, or participate in student government.

And last year The White House’s Women in America Report noted that those trends continue in college:

  • Greater percentages of females attend college.
  • Females are more likely to attend and graduate from college without dropping out.
  • Females are more likely to earn a graduate school degree.

And the 2010 “Women in the Labor Force: A Databook,” compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reflects similar developments in the workforce:

  • Women account for 51 percent of all people employed in management, professional, and related occupations, somewhat more than their share of total employment (47 percent).
  • The increase in female managers coming to the table with undergraduate and graduate degrees is greater than the increases in male managers.

So, are you ready for reality?

  • Women earn 77 percent of what men earn.
  • Equal Pay Day, which signifies the point into the year that a woman must work to earn what a man made, falls on Tuesday, April 17 this year.

Wait, what? That’s right; and it’s not what you were expecting, is it?

Truth be told, we should expect more for our working women, and they should get more. Nearly 50 years ago, when the Equal Pay Act of 1963 brought pay parity for women to the national forefront, critics argued that women simply did not have the same educational background as men, and therefore did not merit the same wages. Well, instead of coming a long way, baby, it seems we have come full circle.

Today’s critics of equal pay argue that men as a group earn higher wages in part because men dominate blue collar jobs, which are more likely to require payments for overtime work. In contrast, women comprise more of the salaried white collar management workforce that is often exempted from overtime laws.

We were told that we didn’t have enough education to merit equal pay then, and now our educational achievements are the cause of the disparity. Well, the critics want it both ways. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have toughened legal action against discriminating employers, still hasn’t been passed by the Congress. Many  businesses continue to oppose it, citing that new legislation is unnecessary, redundant, and would simply lead to unfair lawsuits against employers.

Equal Pay DayThen why, nearly 50 years later, has the wage gap only improved by only half a cent per year? In 1963, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity, “women working full-time and year-round earned on average 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. A woman now earns 77 cents for every man’s dollar.” At that rate, it will take nearly another half-century for women to earn a fair wage.

In that same time frame, women have made tremendous strides and are more likely than males to enter the workforce with degrees from high school, college, and graduate school. It makes good financial sense for businesses to invest in attracting and retaining the best talent by offering equal and fair compensation and benefits.  Many forward looking businesses recognize that eliminating pay differentials makes good business sense and that pay equity can help with competitiveness, worker retention and productivity.

It’s time for all of America’s business community to step up with fair pay, or step out of the way of legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act that will help ensure pay equity. I call on all businesses, on Equal Pay Day this year, to review compensation packages and address the inequality. We can help.

BPW Foundation encourages employers to recognize and reward the skills and contributions of working women. The Employer Pay Equity Self-Audit was developed to assist employers in analyzing their own wage-setting policies and establishing consistent and fair pay practices for all. It can be found on the BPW Foundation website.  The Equal Opportunities Commission also offers an Equal Pay Self Audit Kit.

It’s the right thing to do for your employees. It’s the smart thing to do for your business.

Don’t let another year go by for working women — and their families — who are doing more for less. We held up our end of the bargain and came to the workforce better prepared and more skilled. Now it’s your turn: make sure you offer equal pay for equal work.

This articles was adapted from a piece that first appeared on the Huffington Post, April 11, 2011

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Participate in the Equal Pay App Challenge!

Posted by egehl on February 27, 2012

Spread the word to your family, friends, and colleagues about the new Equal Pay App Challenge!

The National Equal Pay Task Force at the Department of Labor wants your help in building innovative tools to educate the public about the pay gap and promote equal pay for women.

On average women are still paid less than their male counterparts for doing comparable jobs.  This means that each time the average woman starts a new job, she’s likely to start from a lower base salary, but it also means that over time the pay gap between her and her male colleagues is likely to become increasingly wider.  This translates to a woman having less in her weekly paycheck, and thousands of dollars less over her lifetime. For women of color and women with disabilities, this disparity is much larger. 

The App Challenge is asking participants to use publicly available labor data and other online resources to come up with new ways to educate users about equal pay, and to build tools that promote closing the wage gap. 

Each submitted idea should achieve at least one or all of the following goals:

  • Provide greater access to pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity
  • Provide tools for early career coaching
  • Help inform negotiations
  • Promote online mentoring

Now is your opportunity to get your creative juices flowing and come up with innovative ways to support women tackle the ongoing wage gap.

The esteemed group of judges, including Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, will examine each entry for three main things:

How well does the application address at least one of the four goals defined for this challenge; how innovative, interesting, and unique is the application in meeting contest requirements; and does the application present information in a way that is easy for the target audiences to use and is pleasing to the eye?

There are various levels of prizes and if you are a grand prize winner you will receive a scholarship to attend an eight-week immersive program hosted by General Assembly where students will attend hands-on classes that build skills and provide an in-depth overview of topics in digital product innovation and entrepreneurship.

Submissions for the App Challenge can be from an individual or a team. Contestants must register for the contest on Challenge.gov by creating an account between January 31st, 2012, and March 31st, 2012. All entries received after March 31st, 2012 will not be considered for prizes. Registrants will receive an email to verify their account and may then enter their submissions via the “Post a Submission” tab (Submissions).

For more information about the contest and how to apply please visit the Equal Pay App Challenge website.

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