Written by the Own Your Destiny Team

Over the last few years, progress toward pay equality has stalled. Some businesses and policymakers are willing to move forward, while others are still stuck in the past.

Salesforce, for example, has committed to routine audits, because antiquated pay discrepancies resurface without constant vigilance. On the other side of the spectrum, a Citigroup Inc. investor with Arjuna Capital found stockholders uninterested in conducting a preliminary gender-based pay study, much less a routine audit.

Pushing for Progress on the Gender Pay Gap

The United States is not alone. Women in Iceland and France staged protests in 2016 to combat respective pay discrepancies of 14% and 15.1% in their countries. Wide-scale protests like these have drawn much needed attention to the issue. Thought leaders are continuing to write and speak about effective ways to enact lasting changes. Some of the most compelling ideas include:

  • Conducting routine audits. Salesforce may have a well-known pay gap, but the company is also taking active steps to remedy the situation. Routine audits allow the business to identify and remedy problems before they impact productivity and morale.
  • Embracing flex work schedules. Many gender pay gap critics attribute wage differences to personal choices. They say that many women receive lower pay, because they choose lower-paying roles, and they choose to stop working before retirement. Personal choices do complicate the matter, but many studies compare pay among men and women with comparable roles. The difference still exists. A flexible work schedule may give more women the ability to pursue higher-paying roles and continue working toward retirement. Flex policies are particularly helpful for working mothers.
  • Banning opaque pay practices. Several countries and states including California, Connecticut, and New York have enacted policies to ban employers from hiding pay information or retaliating against employees for personal wage disclosure. Transparency and pay reporting activities can highlight problem areas and give women the power to negotiate for their best interests.
  • Optimizing feedback cycles. Wage differences occasionally arise from implicit biases. Managers and executives may unconsciously review performance based on gender stereotypes. Businesses can set explicit performance standards and use a multi-person review process to overcome these biases.

Take Charge of Your Career, Starting Today

Financial literacy, negotiating skills, and awareness will play crucial roles in the success of professional women as long as the pay gap exists. To take control of your own future, consider one-on-one debt counseling and financial planning with a money coach.