Every year in March, on Equal Pay Day, we are reminded that women make just 83 cents on the dollar to men. It’s a sobering statistic that barely budges from year to year, and frankly sad that we need a day to raise awareness about a topic that should be a non-topic — because women should be paid the same as men. Period.

So what can you do to make an impact when it comes to leveling pay?

A friend of mine used to call up male counterparts and ask what they made for a bonus, compare it to hers with knowledge of each of their deals, etc., and then go to her manager and demand an equal bonus. It’s certainly one strategy. But bigger forces will likely be needed to move the needle significantly more than these one-off efforts.

Here are a few efforts to get behind:

1) Promote pay transparency at your company. 

The great resignation has put power into the hands of employees. It is becoming taboo to leave out salary details for job listings. In fact, pay transparency is becoming an indicator of how forward-thinking a company appears to be in the modern workplace. 

Do women in the same role as men make the same salary at your company? If you don’t know the answer to this, then chances are they do not. 

Find ways to challenge the process at your own company by starting the transparency conversation.

2) Support federal policies that work to bridge the pay gap.

Nationally, the average wage gap per year between men and women is about $10,470. But the gap is bigger for Black and Hispanic women varies from state to state (see state breakdown) and is biggest for mothers, who make just 70 cents on the dollar to fathers. (Lean In created graphics that show this data well.)

The impact of the gap, and what is essentially lower wages, affects not just women, but also their families and the economy. For example, if the gap were closed, The National Partnership for Women & Families (NPWF) says women could afford 15 more months of child care, 78 more weeks of food for her family, and more.

In its latest “America’s Women and the Wage Gap” report, NPWF identifies a handful of policy efforts that could fight bias and address fair pay, including family-friendly workplace standards, and The Paycheck Fairness Act, being reintroduced in Congress by Democrats on Tuesday.

3) Make your voice heard.

Whether it’s negotiating for more and demanding what you’re worth, supporting legislation or the organizations pushing for change you want to see, or working within your company’s women’s employee resource group to bring change, we all have a personal muscle to flex in some direction on behalf of women everywhere. Decide where your strength is, and work it.

Finally, take advantage of the 20% discount Lean In organized with hundreds of companies to account for the 20% pay gap women endure. Find participating companies here.


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