working women

10 Fairygodboss Moments of 2015

2015 was a great year for women. Looking back, here are some of our favorite moments.

pabloPattyAGlamour Magazine

  1. In February, Patricia Arquette issues a rally cry for women to achieve equal pay in her Oscars speech. It’s not necessarily easy for celebrities to use their fame to advocate for their beliefs – so we applaud her for taking a stand.

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  2. In March, we were all watching the dirty laundry aired during the Ellen Pao trial. While it didn’t end well for Pao, we all benefitted from the focus on the challenges women face in the technology industry. Looking back, Pao is sanguine about how things are improving for women in tech.

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    ABC News

  3. In April, Hillary Clinton finally announces her candidacy for POTUS, making her the first female candidate to enter the ring. The new grandmother called for equal pay, and better maternity leave legislation for American women in her campaign speeches.

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  4. In May, Carly Fiorina throws in her hat to the ring, making it the first time two women have a shot at winning the country’s highest office. She, too, takes on feminist causes and makes us laugh about an otherwise serious matter: gender equality in the workplace.

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  5. Come July, Lena Dunham launches Lenny Letter, giving us all a dose of funny and insightful feminist news in her weekly email.pabloAMSForbes

  6. In time for back-to-school, Anne-Marie Slaughter weighs in on why it’s hard for anyone to “have it all” in a “toxic work culture. Her book released in September, “Unfinished Business” sparks a national conversation about how women and men suffer when we pursue work at the expense of everything else. This is perfectly timed to follow a spate of announcements by tech companies Netflix, Adobe and Microsoft about expanded maternity leave policies.

    pabloGlriaAOL Makers

  7. In October, California passes the nation’s toughest Equal Pay law and Gloria Steinhem releases her decades-long memoir in-the-making “Life on the Road” about all the progress women have made in the arenas of government, public policy, and reproductive rights — and how we must keeping fighting the good fight.

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  8. In November, Reese Witherspoon shows us yet again why she’s America’s sweetheart at the Glamour Women of the Year award gala. Her speech inspired girls and women around the world.

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    Associated Press

  9. This month, we saw a significant win for women looking for equal rights in the military. U.S. Defense Secretary Carter announced in the early weeks of this month that women could join the ranks of those in combat roles. In a year where we saw the first female Rangers graduate, we think it’s about time!

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    Time Magazine

  10. Sports Illustrated and Time Magazine both celebrated two superstars — who happen to be women — on their covers. Serena Williams was named Sportsperson of the Year and Frau Angela Merkel was nominated Time’s Person of the Year for holding together the European Union during a year of existential, refugee and currency crisis. 

We clearly have a lot to celebrate this year and can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!

Fairygodboss is committed to helping women in the workplace. 

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working women

Top 5 Things Women Say About Pay in their Company Reviews

Image courtesy of Stuart MIles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart MIles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recently we searched through our member database to see what women have to say about money matters.  We were overwhelmed by their collective wisdom and have decided to condense our member insights into a list of their top 5 most common remarks about salaries and pay.

  1. Raises are hard to come by.  Women who’ve worked at the same company for a long time talk about the fact they haven’t seen meaningful salary growth.  In a way, this isn’t surprising because we all know that wages have been stagnant, on average, since the 1970s.  While we’re not necessarily advocating that you become a “job hopper”, keep in mind that when you enter a company, you may be anchored at your starting salary for far longer than you would expect.

    I can tell you the ‘no raise’ warnings were correct.”

    “NEGOTIATE your entrance salary and vacation!  You are stuck in pay scale grades and can only go up one grade at a time, which is not a big salary change.”

  2. Negotiate right at the beginning because that’s when its most likely to work.  Related to the idea that raises can be few and far between, many women say its important to negotiate at the point of a job offer.  We know its not the easiest thing to do, but negotiation doesn’t appear to get any easier over time.

    “If you have the experience and know you can give your all fight for the starting pay you deserve.”

    “New hires get paid more than people who’ve been with the company for a longer period of time.”

  3. Women don’t think equal (or unequal) pay is a secret at their companies.  The pay gap is controversial and complicated because while the statistics show women are paid 82 cents for every $1 a man makes on average, this statistic does not account for experience, position, education, seniority or anything else.  Nevertheless, many women in our community are convinced their male counterparts are being paid more than they are.  Clearly this is pretty frustrating.  The good news is that some women are just as certain that men and women are being paid the same.

    “I don’t believe the pay scale is equal and men are making more in regards to salary. I handle the same if not more responsibilities then some others on my team and I know most are making a higher salary with less experience.”

    “In the 7 years that I’ve been with this company, I’ve received several promotions and felt that I was treated equally to my male and female peers with regards to base pay and bonus.”

  4. Reduced schedules mean clearly less pay — but not always less responsibility.

    On reduced schedule- which works for me, though I’ve heard does not work for many (ends up being full-time work for part-time pay).”

  5. Some women say they accept low or less-than-ideal pay because they like their colleagues, have work flexibility, or other benefits that make up for it. While life is full of tradeoffs, we do hope that women are going into these “deals” with their eyes wide open.  Companies that are financially stretched should also take heart because this means that intangibles such as collegiality and culture can truly help retain talent that otherwise would leave.

    “In the end, I will likely stay only because I do enjoy the flexibility of working remotely and I enjoy the people I work with.”

    “The pay is low, but in return you get great benefits, more vacation days than you can use and great coworkers.”

We hope that this round-up of insights helps give you some perspective and thoughts about how to plan for your next job, salary negotiation or even your longer term career.

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace for women. Have something to add about your pay and company?  Join us by signing up at Fairygodboss.com and reviewing your employer.

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working women

Imagine if Companies Had to Publish What They Pay Women vs Men

If you’re smiling and thinking that this will never happen, you’ll have to amend that thought…at least if we’re talking British companies.  As of last Thursday, the legislature in the UK have passed a law requiring employers with over 250 employees to publish the aggregate pay differentials between male and female employees.  While this has been a “voluntary” policy encouraged by the Government for some time, only five (5) companies have done so.  Now, large companies will no longer have a choice.

We admit our choice of cover image is “cheeky” but that’s what we love about the English press…they’re never afraid to be controversial.  We took that image from the Telegraph who published an insightful article about what this means for affected UK companies.  They pointed out 3 issues that will be top-of-mind for businesses:

1.  Measuring pay differentials is tricky.  Beyond simply an audit of titles and salaries, this legislation means employers may have to implement a compensation management system that previously wasn’t in place.  If an employer has not enforced consistent pay policies or had a compensation management system in the past, there will be a lot for the HR department to do.

2.  Pay and recruitment go hand-in-hand.  Pay policies may mean less flexibility in recruiting candidates, which can be difficult for managers navigating a competitive hiring landscape.  On the other hand, it might encourage more “blind” hiring (e.g. the review of resumes without names or gender information)

3.  Companies will likely become more self-conscious about culture as perceived by their female employees.  Armed with the data, women may feel more emboldened to ask for raises, promotions and for ‘different’ or ‘better’ working conditions, overall.

While it might be hard to imagine something this happening in America, where most of Fairygodboss‘ audience lives, the United States does offer some parallels.  Last fall, the Obama administration mandated that contractors with over 50 employees and $50,000 in federal revenues disclose demographic and pay information to the U.S. Labor Department in an “Equal Pay Report”.  So you never say never…one day the United States might be following in the footsteps of the United Kingdom.

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working women

Americans Think #Equal Pay Is Working Womens’ Biggest Issue

You have have seen the media furor over Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s (subsequently retracted) comments at a women’s conference this week.  The attention he received for his advice that women not ask for raises is at least probably partially because equal pay is the number one issue Americans believe that working women face.  In this Gallup poll conducted a few weeks ago, these were the top 5 issues that Americans, overall, believed were an issue for working women:

  1. Equal pay / Fair pay
  2. Equal opportunity for promotion, advancement / no gender discrimination
  3. Jobs, unemployment, availability of jobs
  4. Sexual harassment, better treatment/more respect in the workplace
  5. Access to childcare / better childcare

The question was posed as an open-ended one so the fact that the answers clustered was due to users having independently provided similar responses.

Interestingly, working women answered quite similarly to men and women who didn’t work outside the home.  Working women themselves agreed that equal/fair pay and equal opportunity for promotion/advancement were their top 2 issues.  However, they believed childcare, work/home balance, and sexual harassment were the next 3 most important ones.

Equal pay is something we’ve written about before, but how to really define the issue — much less fix it — is one of the reasons I believe it remains a persistent issue.  We hope that if enough women report their pay at Fairygodboss, we may perceive differences against larger compensation studies and discover companies where pay may seem to be unfair.  Even if not incontrovertible, there may be a consensus of opinion that will be hard for employees and a company to ignore.  Similarly, unequal opportunity for promotion/advancement is something that’s virtually impossible to prove in most cases.  This makes the opinions of women who’ve been there and lived through relevant situations important to listen to.

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working women

How Data Can Make Discrimination Lawsuits Matter More

Today, an article reports that there may be a “legal basis for work-life balance”. “Disparate treatment” of employees on the basis of gender is illegal.  But the devil is in the detail.  Is a company that requires employees to work X hours in the office breaking the law if X hours of work impacts men and women differently and those hours can’t otherwise be justified?  

I’m no legal expert but this seems like a losing argument.  An employer can almost always rationalize a profit-motive for a work requirement.  And its probably unreasonable to say that all policies need to impact people (even protected classes of people) equally in order to be valid.  For example, a company that requires a certain amount of travel will probably disproportionately disadvantage pregnant women, older people, and disabled employees compared to others.  And yet, travel might be an intrinsic requirement of a role that’s crucial to a company (e.g. international salespeople).

Fairygodboss’ whole mission is to bring transparency to the workplace by creating a database of company information and employee reviews.  I’ve recently decided to add certain legal information into the mix.  Users will be able to see which companies have been alleged to violate certain equal pay laws.  While allegations are not the same thing as a guilty verdict, I think its still useful information for any prospective or current employee to have.  

I know there are real costs and absurd outcomes in a “lawsuit happy” society.  But there are good outcomes from litigation, too.  And certain things do not change unless lawsuits are filed by people who’ve been wronged.  Sometimes, even lawsuits and the PR/financial/legal headaches they cause for a company don’t change much in a corporate culture because the news holds so little public attention for such a short time.  I hope the addition of this legal information raises a more lasting awareness.

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