Whether you are fresh out of college or have decades of industry experience, as an ambitious professional woman, you know your worth, and you have no trouble chasing after your goals.
Unfortunately, you may sometimes feel like the company where you work doesn’t really recognize your value as an employee. In fact, you may have suspicions that your employer pays you less because you are female. You know, however, that there are federal rules prohibiting educational institutions and employers from discriminating against women on the basis of their sex.
Federal employment laws, in theory, guarantee female workers the right to equal pay when compared with their similarly credentialed male counterparts. Is there still a significant wage gap that affects what women make?
Many companies still pay women less
If you have a sneaking suspicion based on conversations with co-workers or industry statistics that you make less than men in the same position as you, you might be right. According to data gathered by the Department of Labor, women still only make $0.82 for every dollar that a similarly educated and experienced male in the same field earns.
Women of color are at even higher risk for making less than men in the same field, with researchers showing that Black and Latina women with four-year degrees only earn 65% of what a white man with the same degree would.
Companies may hire female employees at a lower wage than which they would pay a man for the same position. They may also be less generous when giving cost-of-living raises to female workers. Even female employees who frequently request raises after positive performance reviews may still find that they make less than their male counterparts.
How do you combat unequal pay in the workplace?
As a hardworking, professional woman not receiving fair wages for fair work, you probably want to fight back and get the pay you deserve. The process of bringing a claim against the company for wage discrimination based on sex is complex, but it is often worthwhile.
Not only might you effectively close your personal wage gap by successfully bringing such a claim, you could also help change internal policies so that other women who work for the company in the future will receive appropriate, equal pay instead of facing discrimination. Recognizing how prevalent wage discrimination based on sex remains could help motivate you to take action.