We’ve come a long way, baby, but we’re not done yet.
When I think of my global community of ambitious, driven, creative women who are making life happen on their own terms, it makes me proud. It also strengthens my belief in women who are pursuing their life’s passion and making a difference in the world.
Here’s the jagged little truth pill, though: As awesome as we are, women still earn significantly less than men for performing the same roles. Even in occupations where 80 percent or more of the workers are women, men still get paid significantly more. In addition to the wage gap, women routinely report higher rates of discrimination in the workplace than men.
Addressing these issues will require persistent, collective chipping away at the glass ceiling, but first we need to start with ourselves.
Although negotiating salaries is challenging for many women because we aren’t taught how to talk about money, we need to acknowledge what we are bringing to the table and ask for what we are worth.
Here’s how to be your own best advocate and get that raise you deserve.
Celebrate Your Accomplishments
Women aren’t usually encouraged to celebrate ourselves. We’re expected to be modest and value collective success over individual achievement. But this doesn’t do us any favors.
As a woman entrepreneur with an all-women team, I always stress the importance of my employees owning their contributions and being their own best advocates.
Here are some actions you can take right now to get going: Make a list of your achievements (and pull it out whenever you need a reminder of all you’ve done). Take credit for the awesome ideas you contribute to your team. Give your boss the chance to tangibly see how much you’ve accomplished.
And if you are asking for a raise or promotion, you need to be willing to share your accomplishments in a clear, logical and persuasive way. Connect your successes to the bigger picture and the company’s overall goals. Learn to clearly communicate how you have helped uplift your company’s mission and vision, as well as the people around you.
Women often believe that if they simply do good work, someone will notice and reward them for it. Instead, learn to highlight your accomplishments and demonstrate what you are worth.
Get Comfortable Talking About Money
Talking about money is often considered taboo. Women are especially taught that discussing money and finances — or expressing the desire to be monetarily rewarded for our hard work — is rude or offensive.
But to find our true power, we need to be bolder. I recommend talking about money and raises with close friends and family, as well as asking them how they deal with these issues. Also, do your homework and research salaries in your industry. If it feels appropriate, ask colleagues how much they make. Have a specific number in mind, and be unapologetic about naming it when you ask for your raise.
The value of matter-of-fact transparency, especially when it comes to financial well-being, is that it makes you a better and more assertive communicator — and one who isn’t needlessly leaving money on the table.
But these hard conversations start with yourself. So get clear about what you want. When you state your intentions to yourself, you’ll be better positioned to talk about money and negotiate with your boss without wavering.
Step Into Your Passion and Confidence
Asking for a raise might be intimidating. But to be a great negotiator, you have to recognize that what you are asking for is a win-win for everyone.
It might seem like a tall order to just be confident (especially if it doesn’t come naturally to you), but it’s all about returning to the enthusiasm that your job inspires in you.
When you are confident — which I view as being passionate, joyful, and purpose-driven — people notice and respond. Doors that may have been previously closed begin to open. So, take a cue from what inspires you.
Wouldn’t it be amazing for you to be able to offer even more of your talents to your organization? And how great would it be if you were rewarded for the important work you were already doing? Assume that your boss wants to support you — and the rest will fall into place.