Closing the gender pay gap

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Closing the gender pay gap

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - While the pay gap between men and women is slowly closing, women are still having to deal with the issue of being paid less than their male coworkers.

In 2017, the wage gap for full-time, year-round workers, male or female, was 19.5 percent. That’s according to research done by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

In Alabama, women were paid 76 cents for every dollar a man made in 2017, according to research conducted by the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Alabama is also one of two states without any equal pay legislation. Right now, a bill is making its rounds in the Alabama legislature that would prohibit businesses from paying workers less than employees of another race or gender.

The bill sponsored by Representative Adline Clarke of Mobile passed the The House Commerce and Small Business Committee and now moves to the house floor.

When considering the pay gap, there are a lot of different factors at play, one including race. Research done by the American Association of University Women shows that the pay gap can vary by a women’s race.

The research shows that in 2017, Hispanic or Latina women made 53 percent of what their white male co-workers made, while African American women made 61 percent.

Gender pay gap can also vary by race. Research by the American Association of University Women shows that in 2017, Hispanic or Latina women made 53 percent of what their white male co-workers made, while African American women made 61 percent.
Gender pay gap can also vary by race. Research by the American Association of University Women shows that in 2017, Hispanic or Latina women made 53 percent of what their white male co-workers made, while African American women made 61 percent. (Source: AAUW)

As working adults, we’re often told to never talk about your salary with your co-workers. However, workforce development experts say it’s a conversation that can lead to more of what you’re worth.

Bridget Chambers is a senior recruiter for JTL Solutions in Huntsville. She does a lot of hiring for other companies in the city, so she knows there is still an issue with how women are paid compared to men.

“I think probably part of the problem is women are not as likely to negotiate than men,” said Chambers.

Research conducted by the AAUW backs up Chambers’ statement. Their research found that 54 percent of men were more likely to negotiate a pay raise than women. “Being afraid of going hey, I think I deserve that raise but, it’s really finding your backbone and women standing up for each other, being an advocate for each other,” said Chambers.

Sheila McFerran, Directors of Business Development for Bailey Consulting Services, says you should sit down with your boss every 6 months and discuss your salary. “I believe, especially young professionals, should sit down with their boss after months, go through the performance, how they’re doing, how they’re a good fit for the job and discuss salary,” said McFerran.

McFerran believes the pay is slowly closing. She says BCS is helping to lead that movement. “We are equal. Everything is based on the requirements for the job and who can meet those requirements. It’s the best skilled individual and there’s never been s question whether it’s male or female,” said McFerran.

Research does show the pay gap slowly closing however, the IWPR predicts the pay gap won’t fully close until 2059.

How we close the gender pay gap
How we close the gender pay gap (Source: WAFF)

So, how do we close the gender pay gap? Chambers says there are three things women can do to ensure they are being paid equal to their male co-workers.

The first, do your research. “What is the average pay for the position you’re currently in if you’re seeking a raise or a promotion. What is the average rate for that position?”

Next, Chambers suggest that you make a list. “All the accomplishments you’ve made within that company, all the accomplishments you hope to seek when you further your position within the the company. Present it to the person who would, hopefully, be giving you this raise or promotion.”

Chambers’ finally suggestion includes having an open dialogue with your co-workers. “This is something that a lot of people think is illegal to do is talk about your pay rate and it’s not. It will force the company to be more fair with their pay wages and also make them competitive.”

Both Chambers and McFerran emphasized that if you feel like you are being underpaid, you need to have a conversation with your boss. They say it’s important that you remain confident and persistent about what you want when it comes to asking for equal pay.

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