Stand up for what you're worth

One thing that will be a given in the era of women is not only equal pay for equal work, but that work associated with the feminine like child care, the arts, nursing, education will be properly paid. It is stunning that this is still an issue and women are still paid considerably less than men. Hannah Riley Bowles conducted several studies and found that people associate higher pay with men, that women are less likely to ask for raises, and when she attempts to negotiate a higher pay she is perceived as less attractive. Here we go again with that same old “strong women are unfeminine!” But when a woman successfully negotiates a higher salary because she feels her work merits a raise, she clears the path for other women to follow.

Sometimes it requires a collective effort, after all, feminine power is a collective power. For instance, 12 women sued Novartis Pharmaceuticals for sex discrimination in pay and promotions. With overwhelming evidence at hand, they won and not onlydid they  receive $3.35 million, they opened the path for 5,600 women employees to apply for damages as well. The verdict could cost the company more than $200 million. Of course, Novartis denies any wrong doing and will appeal. These gladiators just refuse to say they are wrong, and doom themselves to repeating the same mistakes.

The discrimination largely targeted pregnant women, either by firing or harassing them. The irony of ironies is Novartis received a Working Mother magazine award. What a disconnect!

So Iron Butterflies, if you are not being paid properly, find other women who feel the same and stand together. Talk it through on how to best present your case. If we don’t stand up for what we are worth, no one will.  If we don’t place value on the work we do, no one will. I mean, the median salary for a pre-school teacher is $26,000. An entry level plumber gets $40,000. Shouldn’t those who are raising the future earn at least as much as a plumber?


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