Equal Pay Day and the importance of knowing your worth

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, a day that signifies how far into the year women have to work to earn the same pay that men did the year before.

According to the American Association of University Women, it’s estimated that women in the United States were paid just 80% of what men were paid. The AAUW also estimates that at the current rate that the gap is closing, women are expected to reach pay equity with men in 2059.

Indiana is experiencing a larger pay gap than much of the rest of the country.

A December 2017 report by the Indiana Institute for Working Families found that for every dollar a Hoosier man made, women made just 74 cents. That gap widens when you look specifically at women of color. Black and biracial women made just 64 cents for every dollar a man made, and Latina women made just 56 cents for every dollar a man made.

Experts say the problem isn’t an easy one and requires work to be done on all sides. On one hand, a drastic culture change is needed in businesses across the state. Pay parity for anyone working similar positions should be something they strive for constantly.

On the other hand, women can also help themselves avoid being short changed through tough negotiation tactics. Tammy Butler Robinson, the president of the Indianapolis chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners says it is important that women go into negotiations knowing their worth.

“Be willing to do your research, do your due diligence, understand where the market says you should be, understand what your skills are, your experience, and then quantify that,” Robinson says.

Robinson says it’s also important to remember compensation isn’t just about pay. She says fighting for things like benefits, company shares and paid leave are also important in the negotiation process.

Robinson admits not every situation is the same, and hard negotiation tactics don’t always guarantee you’ll get what you ask for. However, she says putting pressure on businesses and business owners is necessary for change.

“It’s very important that we continue to raise the awareness to make sure people are educated and informed and most of all that women know how to advocate for themselves,” she said.

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