gender pay gap

Written by Kelley Holland

The news has been grim lately when it comes to the gender pay gap: women’s pay gains seem to have leveled off so that women are stuck earning something around 80% of what men do for comparable work. Grim, right?

So it’s heartening to see that someone, somewhere is doing something to narrow the gap. The city of Boston has teamed up with the American Association of University Women to offer free salary negotiation workshops to working women across the city, and according to a new report, they’re making a difference.


The stats are impressive. Some 73% of the workshop participants took steps to compare their pay to that for similar positions, 48% either negotiated a raise or got a competitive starting salary for a new job, and 40% started conversations with their managers about their work and their value to their employer.

And there was this: “An important and unexpected finding is the degree to which the workshops resulted in an increased sense of confidence and self-esteem, making visible the importance of this factor in facilitating women’s actions to improve their pay and employment status.”

In other words, when women gain confidence, they are better at advocating for themselves. The problem these women had had wasn’t a lack of money smarts or caring. It was that they had felt intense pressure NOT to ask for more. In fact, 58% of the participants said that before the workshops, they had lacked the confidence to negotiate. They didn’t think they could change their situation.

The truth is, you can ask for more, and you deserve to try. You have what it takes – you just need to let the world see it.

Thanks, Boston, for showing the way.

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