Money is such a taboo topic. You don’t typically walk up to a stranger and ask, “hi- how much do you make?” Nor have I ever had someone ask me that either. But with such stark gender wage gaps across the globe, for example women earning 79 cents to every dollar a man earns in the US, shouldn’t we be discussing money more often?
The general reason we don’t talk about money is because…
Aren’t all those concepts social constructs anyway? Money in its most literal definition is just a piece of paper or numbers on a ledger. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying money is not important. Quite the contrary, I think money is important because people make it so. It’s our standardized currency that allows us to afford varying degrees of lifestyles. Yet for how much it impacts our lives, I find it fascinating that it’s not discussed more, especially amongst women.
We all have a friend or two that was working a job only later to find out that her male colleague who had the exact same roles and duties was earning more than her. That’s frustrating. But how do we change these things if we don’t openly discuss them and are unaware of them?
I’ll admit, I definitely tip toe around this topic too. I don’t know how much even some of my closest friends earn. Yet when I had a commissioned sales job, money was pretty much all we talked about. The commission levels are transparent so when you know how much product someone sold, and their commission rank, you can figure out how much they’re earning using some simple math. I had more male counterparts than female at the time and found myself discussing goals and numbers all the time back then. Sales is a unique profession because it revolves around the numbers and that’s the only metric you’re really measuring.
In most white collar professional jobs, however, as you know, people are receiving base salaries. Online platforms like Glassdoor and Indeed help us triangulate our negotiating power and market net worth but at the end of the day, when that number is decided — are you really getting paid what you deserve? And is that acceptable for you?
Everyone has different standards and expectations. And that’s okay. What matters is that you are clear about your goals and work toward them.
How do we bring more transparency to the wage gap?
How do we ensure women are getting paid what they deserve?
How do you go about determining what income level is suitable for you?
Did you ever find out your male colleague was earning more than you for the exact same job? How did you find out? What advice do you have for other women when negotiating a salary?
Let’s talk about money! Comment below with your answers or thoughts.