Let the games begin! After a year of waiting, the US Women’s National Team launched its Olympic campaign yet again, taking on Sweden in its first match at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
It was an unexpected start to the Tokyo Olympics for the US women’s soccer team. The reigning World Cup champions played a familiar foe: Sweden. And unfortunately for the US, Sweden beat them 3-0.
Team USA soccer winger Megan Rapinoe, apart from being the face of women’s soccer, has not only won two World Cups and one Olympic gold medal— but won hearts by being vocal about women’s rights. She’s also known for fighting for equal pay for women. Rapinoe and the US women’s soccer team filed a lawsuit over equal pay in 2019.
Rapinoe says: “It’s not easy to constantly have to demand your worth. Or tell people how good you are. Or tell people you deserve to be a full human,” in ‘LFG’, a new documentary on HBO Max on the US women’s national soccer team’s lawsuit for equal pay against US Soccer. The claim was dismissed by a federal judge in May 2020. However, the team filed an appeal earlier this year ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which kicks off on July 23.
Rapinoe is now a model for women embracing salary transparency as a way to fight the bias against equal pay.
In every industry across locations and job positions—men earn more than women. In fact, women in the U.S. earn 82 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. And that doesn’t even count women of color, for whom the gap is even wider. Black women make about 63 cents and Latina women make 55 cents on a dollar compared to men.
The second half of the 20th century has seen a significant rise in women’s labor force participation. The number of women working longer hours and pursuing higher education has increased. However, significant wage gaps between men and women still persist — particularly for women of color.
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How exactly do we close the gender wage gap?
It’s not as easy as it sounds—but closing the gender wage gap isn’t constrained to negotiating your salary and advocating only for yourself. The problem is vast and systematic —to a point where it affects everybody from sports stars to employees in corporate America. But-, the good news? It’s not impossible. Women can create change in their lives in smaller, yet meaningful ways. Here are 5 ways women can tackle the gender pay gap—whether individual or institutional.
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Be transparent with your salary
One of the best ways to advocate equal pay is to be transparent about your salary with your peers and personal network. Since most people are not aware of the disparity in salary between men and women—it’s best to talk about it within your close community.
Normalize money discussions
Disrupt societal expectations about money talks being taboo or unacceptable. After all, knowledge is power. This is one of the many ways women can change the money game. Have you been in situations where people are uncomfortable asking how much you make and what you do, what education you have?
But all of those things need to be talked about because that’s where awareness begins. Normalizing discussions on money help women give themselves the information to narrow the gender wage gap.
Know your worth
Knowing your value and establishing boundaries both play critical roles in identifying your challenges, overcoming them and succeeding yet. Sometimes the challenge will be voicing opinions. When you know that the world is hostile to women of color – don’t get complacent and roll with it.
If you’re entering the negotiation phase with a potential employer, think about what you bring to the table–your skill sets, your commitment, authenticity, etc. Know your worth and be prepared to explain why you expect fair pay for fair work—and do not underestimate yourself. Not once!
Learn from other women
From the ones who inspire you. The best way to grow is to learn from someone who has overcome the issues you’re facing in your own life. Whether a career coach or a personal finance expert, find one on social media. Take time to learn a thing or two from them that will help your career and financial situation. You won’t regret it!
Hold larger systems accountable
Recognize that you can influence larger systems and corporations. You have every ability to be a catalyst for change. Call out discriminatory policies in your workplace.
Be the person who asks the tough questions. But at the same time, if you feel compelled to point out inconsistencies about your concerns, do it. If employees don’t hold higher-ups accountable, they won’t make big changes.