Wage Gaps between Genders: Who’s responsibility is it to fix it?

Article: The Glass Hammer — “Whose Responsibility is Fixing the Wage Gap?

Good article in general, but I want to highlight a few points for discussion.

Please, if you are going to disagree with me or especially with any of my readers commenting, I totally welcome discussion, but please keep it civil and productive. Thanks!

This paragraph:

An employer has valued a job at between $85,000 and $90,000. When interviewing potential employees, the employer requires that they provide their salary history.

A woman then comes in to be interviewed and when asking about the salary being offered for the position, the employer instead requests the female candidate’s salary history.

Currently, she is making $65,000 a year and is offered $75,000 for the job.

She accepts, grateful for the $10,000 raise, unaware of the fact that she will be receiving less than the position was originally valued at; thus saving the company between $10,000 and $15,000

Later, the article goes on to write:

“Gender stereotypes abound and it’s not unusual for a woman attempting to negotiate her salary to be seen as ‘too aggressive’ and then not get offered the job.

Also, if you ask your male co-workers how much they’re making for performing similar work, you run the risk of being retaliated against by employers.”

Learn the game

I am not saying gender stereotypes do not exist.


I’ve been & challenged a lot more than other consultants, and partly, it’s because I’m a woman…. but it’s also because I’m young and in a male-dominated industry.

They think I’m a pushover, and they act as such to use anything they can to their advantage — that’s the way negotiations work.

If I wasn’t young and/or a woman, they would act differently towards me, and not call me unflattering descriptors like: “aggressive”, “hungry”, or “tough”.

I’ve seen it happen with the same contracts/brokers dealing with BF (who is older and clearly a man), and they call him: “fair”, “firm” and “confident”.

They are reacting to the situation & trying to squeeze out what they can use as their advantage.

So I may not like it, but I understand the game (after making a ton of mistakes) and I accept the challenges and hurdles that come with what I’ve chosen.

Every job seeker should do their legwork

She accepts, grateful for the $10,000 raise, unaware of the fact that she will be receiving less than the position was originally valued at…

Frankly, she’s the one that accepted, with the key words being: unaware of the fact that she will be receiving less than the position was originally valued at.

Without proper salary and wage research, nor being able to confidently ask for a higher salary than what is initially offered, I dare say it isn’t really discrimination against women in particular for that case.

I think it’s misleading to say that hardball negotiation tactics are only done to all women — it is done to everyone, but perhaps women are less aware of the situation & are not as inclined or to fight/challenge the salary, as written above.

But I am not saying that it doesn’t happen women at all, because getting challenged on my rate/salary happens to me all the time!

We may be targeted more as a group, but that’s because we still have a long ways to go to reach wage parity in society, but we aren’t helping matters if we sit back & accept our ‘woe is me’ mindset.

Man or woman, if you’ve made the decision to either:

a) not do the legwork & check out how much the job is worth, thus being unaware of what you should ask for

b) did the legwork & still accepted for other reasons without negotiating

…then I am sorry, but in that particular situation, I cannot see how it can be only directed to women, other than writing in the hypothetical job seeker as a woman.

Either way, it’s either you did your homework and accepted anyway, or you didn’t do your homework and are now realizing you just lost $15,000 off the bat.

Women in particular definitely have to be more proactive and force themselves out of their comfort zone to ask for what is fair, while erasing their own mental stigma of being “bitchy” or “aggressive”.

It’s a two-way street

We can’t sit back and wait for it to happen, not want to be patronized just for being a woman, not want to actively try to change a little, and then complain!

Yes, there is a lot of work to be done in general to change attitudes.

Yes, we are still not paid equal wages (although there are other factors at play).

Yes, we are challenged and steamrolled over a lot more than our male counterparts.

But we still have to try as individuals; I am not saying to succeed 100% of the time, but just trying to negotiate when you have a good basis to go on, can yield surprising results.

After all, you are just asking.

It isn’t aggressive behaviour if you are calm, and firm, rather than enraged at the wage gap when you go talk to your manager, backed up with achievements and salary research.

You don’t even have to mention that you asked the guys at the office who gave you that info (I traded salary info all the time); just mention that you’ve done your own research and based on your findings, you are being paid less than the average, while backing it up with your achievements at the company.

Use that as a starting point, and then negotiate for a raise right away.

If they cry “recession!”, and say they don’t have the ready cash for that, tell them you want to know when they feel they may be “ready” — either with dates, or measurable goals such as: “if we hit our targets this year”.

Bide your time (if you want to stay) and if they refuse again when the company seems to have pulled out of its slump, then perhaps that company isn’t one that you should be working for if you are really unhappy.

It’s your call

It all boils down to whether or not you want to accept that stereotype that women are bitches when they negotiate, or change your own mindset to believe that you are just being a firm, confident (not “aggressive”) employee.

You can still decide to negotiate and then stay at the job without nary a change — but that is now your choice to do so for whatever reason (great benefits, retirement plan, perks, vacation time… etc).

Or… sometimes a job is a job is a job and we have to make our bills!

Regardless of gender, we should all do our research, ask for what we are worth & back it up with hard work and results.

It just seems to me, to be like a dangerous, fine line between saying what you are worth and challenging what you are worth by playing the gender (or even race) card.

Just saying.


I agree.

Negotiate like a “man”. It gets you more money.

She also mentions that 20% of women don’t even ask for money.

What the hell, ladies?!! 😛

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.