By Lauren Le Vine, REDBOOK.
Yesterday was Equal Pay Day, which marks how far into 2013 women have to work to earn as much as men did in 2012. Might I remind you that it's April, meaning that women earned in 16 months what men do in the usual 12. The Huffington Post marked Equal Pay Day by quoting a startling statistic from the Center for American Progress: "As late as 2011, 97 percent of full-time working women were in jobs that typically paid men more."
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What's more, certain professions have a higher wage disparity than others. Female personal financial advisors earn only 61.3 percent of what their male counterparts do. Of the 534 professions listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women out-earn men in seven of them. Yes, seven out of 534.
The wage gap starts at the very beginning. Sarah Jane Glynn, senior policy analyst at American Progress, told HuffPo that research shows women are less likely than men to negotiate their starting salaries unless their future employer explicitly opens the door for the discussion. Many women are afraid to negotiate because they fear coming off as overly aggressive, even if it's the exact same conversation a man might broach. Or, as Women 2.0 bluntly put it, "Women don't negotiate because they're not idiots."
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It's not just a matter of getting information like this out in the open. No matter what your opinion of Sheryl Sandberg and her "lean in" strategy, her philosophy has already had an effect on female mobility in the workplace. In the short time since the book was published, BuzzFeed found that women are actually invoking Sandberg and Lean In when salary negotiations arise.
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Other campaigns like #Ask4More are also actively encouraging women to educate themselves on the gender wage gap and offer game plans for the actual negotiation process. Remember: If you go in there and present a plan with sound logic, work accomplishments to back it up, and having done your research (Glassdoor is a great resource) the worst thing that can happen is that your boss says no. It might not even be a reflection of your performance; certain industries (like the media) are currently experiencing more of a "we're just lucky to have jobs" moment than a "if you want a raise, it's just a matter of asking" one.
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