Mar 30, 2021
The History of the Gender Pay Gap & How to Help
As we wrap up Women's History Month, we want to shed light on a significant issue for women in the workforce — the gender pay gap.
Alyssa Towns (Swantkoski)
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3 min. read

As we wrap up Women's History Month, we want to shed light on a significant issue for women in the workforce — the gender pay gap. 


Last Wednesday, March 24, 2021, was Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day was started by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 to bring awareness to wage differences between men and women. The date, which varies from year to year, signifies how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Currently, on average, all women working full-time, year-round, earn 82 cents per every dollar paid to men. Think that doesn't sound significant? The discrepancy for equal pay is even more significant for Black, Native American, and Latina women, with their dates projected in August, September, and October, respectively. According to CNN, a woman who starts her career today will lose, on average, $406,280 to the pay gap in her lifetime. 


So it's not just enough to recognize the pay gap on Equal Pay Day; we must take steps to close the gap and support women in the workforce. Here are some ways you can help:


  1. Support and discuss pay transparency. According to multiple studies as presented by HR Dive, transparency has been shown to help fix the gender pay gap. Conversations around pay are vital in identifying where the gaps lie within organizations. Pay equity analyses may be beneficial for organizations in identifying gaps and barriers.
  2. If you're a woman, hone in on your negotiation skills. From a societal gender role perspective, we teach young girls to be accomodating and nonassertive. According to Monster.com, most women do not negotiate at all, with only 16% of survey respondents indicating that they always negotiate compensation. And while negotiation alone isn't enough to close the gap, it's certainly a step in the right direction that leads to better outcomes
  3. If you're a man, participate in the conversation, and amplify women's voices. We need men to help us close the gender pay gap too. First, it's essential to understand and cultivate a deep awareness of the pay gap to become better allies. This article on The Muse shares nine ways men can help close the gender gap.
  4. Advocate for gender-neutral paternity leave policies to allow both men and women to take time off when children are born. An equitable division of childcare can help prevent women from choosing between their careers and family life. Paternity leave can help women maintain their careers while raising a family without taking on childcare responsibilities alone, according to business.com
  5. Stay up-to-date on proposed government policies and reach out to your government officials. Legislation can play an influential role in helping narrow the pay gap. The Raise the Wage Act was recently reintroduced, and many believe that this piece of legislation would help address the gender pay gap. This piece of legislation is just one example. When these arise, the key thing to remember is to do your research, understand the impact of the proposed policy, and advocate for what you believe in as it relates to closing the gap. Non-profit, Women Employed, provides helpful resources for taking action and explanations of Congress' involvement. 


The pursuit of equity for women in the workforce requires education, advocacy, and policy change. At GrasshoppHer, we believe in fair and inclusive workplaces for all.