Road to Equal Pay: Advice from 7 Power Women

Updated

Today is Equal Pay Day, a time when we recognize the gnawing salary gap between women and men. Full-time working women earned 78 cents for every dollar full-time working men took home in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That divide has been gradually dwindling over the decades, with the help of power women who’ve fought hard to level the playing field at work.

Here’s advice from seven female trailblazers:  

Mika Brzezinski, Morning Joe Co-Host: Knowing the fair-market value of our contributions at work is a critically important piece of knowledge for today’s (and tomorrow’s) professional woman. Our families’ future depends on our knowing what we should be paid, and getting it. If we can’t quantify and communicate our value with confidence, the achievements of the tremendous women before us will have all been for nothing. Knowing our value and communicating it effectively is the next chapter in the story that began with the women’s rights movement. (“Knowing Your Value” by Mika Brzezinski) 

Hoda Kotb, Today Co-Host: Jeff Zucker was one of the guys who was the youngest executive producers of the “Today” show ever, at twenty-something years old. And I always thought, how does a twenty-something become an executive producer? Well, somebody looked at Jeff, probably a man, I’m assuming and saw himself in Jeff. “I see my 26-year-old self. You have what it takes. You’ve got it.” The more women who wind up running things, the more we’ll see ourselves in younger girls. You need someone who identifies with you. (Know Your Value Conference, Philadelphia) 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): Knowing your value, to me, means knowing when to stand up, knowing when to speak out and knowing when to fight for yourself and to fight for the people you love. (Know Your Value Conference, Philadelphia) 

Issa Rae, Comedian: [A]s a freelance videographer and editor, I constantly had to set my price points, which was hard in the beginning because I honestly didn’t know my worth. In addition to that, I was so eager to work that I was pretty much willing to work for any price point. As I grew more confident in my work, I began to set my prices higher. Sometimes [when I told clients the higher prices] I’d get resistance and sometimes I wouldn’t get the job at all. But I would usually break down the price by how hard I was working each hour and by guaranteeing a specific turn around. I’d still end up having to convince them I was worth the money. (Interview with Elle)

Ellen Pao, Interim CEO of Reddit:  I would tell her to have confidence in herself to know that what she’s doing is important, and to always remember not to let other people change her view of herself. (The Wall Street Journal)

Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation: It’s always better to ask and be told ‘no’ than to not ask at all. (Levo League #ask4more campaign

Sarah Silverman, Comedian: We don’t get what we want. We get what we think we deserve. … It has to come from inside and understanding that you deserve it. (Levo League #ask4more campaign

Women in Politics

Road to Equal Pay: Advice from 7 Power Women

Updated