Closing the Gender Pay Gap

With all the gains made in the workplace in recent decades, one inequity persists, and it’s a huge one: for every dollar a man earns, a woman in a comparable position will earn less. For white women, the average is 77 cents to the dollar; for black women, 69 cents; and for Latinas, just 57 cents.

A group called the WAGE (Women Are Getting Even) Project is pushing to change this by teaching young women to negotiate better. Research has shown that women entering the workforce are far more likely to simply accept the first salary offered to them and less likely to negotiate aggressively throughout their careers. Men, on the other hand, tend to hold out for higher starting salaries. The unequal beginning helps explain the lifelong disparities.

While WAGE—which is putting on workshops at hundreds of colleges this spring—is focusing on young women, its founders are quick to advise every woman to get more savvy about negotiating pay.

• Don’t say yes to any figure immediately.
• Don’t be the first to name a number—ask, “What range did you have in mind?”
• Do research on pay scales so that when it’s time for you to counter the initial offer, you have a credible figure in mind.

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