Equal Pay for Equal Work
Equal pay for equal work—it’s a simple concept that remains largely unrealized. It seems obvious that women and men should be paid equally across all industries and regions. And yet research shows that women still earn less than their male peers despite identical backgrounds, education, and experience. As Catalyst President & CEO Ilene H. Lang said in a Catalyzing blog post, “Women in the United States lose about $380,000 due to the gender pay gap over the course of their lives. If your partner is a woman, closing this gap makes good financial sense for you and your family.”
Ask and Ye Shall Receive
It’s a long-held belief that one of the reasons women don’t receive compensation equal to men's is simple: they don’t ask. But this myth has been busted by Catalyst research. In fact, according to The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does Doing All The Right Things Really Get Women Ahead?, even when women did all the things they have been told will help them get ahead—using the same tactics as men—they still advanced less than their male counterparts, and had slower pay growth.
So What Can You Do?
Catalyst research has shown that mentoring and sponsorship play an important role in women’s promotion. Mentoring: Necessary But Insufficient for Advancement examined the impact of mentoring on the career progression of high-potential employees. Findings reveal that having a mentor before starting a first post-MBA job results in greater compensation and a higher-level position—but the payoff is larger for men than for women. It seems that sponsorship—advocacy by someone highly placed in the organization—may help women advance more than traditional mentoring has.