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Are We in A She-cession? Shock and Awe for Today’s Working Woman

Remember how excited we were with the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which (I thought) was to equalize pay for men and women? How’d that turn out? As it turns out, it was only designed to rule out discriminatory pay practices and extend the filing period for claims. Besides, do you realize that was way back in 2009? It seems like such a simple thing, parity in pay for the same job. But nope. Women continue to lag behind men in terms of equal pay.

Add to this, another element of disparate pay, there’s the “Mom-penalty” – women take a hit in pay when they take time off to care for family members. They miss out on promotions, pay raises and bonuses when they’re not in the office; you can’t receive if you’re not working, right? Out of sight, out of mind. Reentry may mean taking another hit if you’ve been out for longer periods of time, you may have to step back and take a lower paying job, especially if your skills haven’t kept up while you were out.

And I don’t want to harp on it too much longer, but just for another second, recognize that women were more greatly impacted by the pandemic. Although this happened across all education levels, one reason is because women were leaving the workforce in greater numbers because of loss of childcare and or home-schooling. And because many women were in administrative, front-line, hourly positions, many of those jobs were lost when businesses lost customers, reduced hours or closed due to extended shelter in place requirements. “Two-thirds of the nation’s minimum wage jobs are held by women. In September 2020, single men gained 1 million jobs while married women lost 1.2 million. This impact on women’s careers may last for years.” (The Week, November 6, 2020)

Bam, bam, and bam! Continually slammed, stuck behind the eight-ball.

There are a lot of reasons for this which I won’t go into now as it’s beyond the scope of this blog. My purpose is to talk about what we can do to offset these unfair practices. Women are solution-oriented, right? So, let’s problem-solve.

If you are a W2 wage-earner, learn to negotiate for higher pay. Get comfortable saying “show me the money!” Although a job may be posted at a specific pay, that does not mean you can’t ask for more. What you need to be sure to do however, is clearly articulate the value you bring to the company. Clearly express ways you can add to the bottom line. If you’re applying for a new job, share your past successes and demonstrable outcomes. Assign a dollar value or improvement percentage – employers understand numbers.

If you’re already with the company, prepare for your annual evaluation by keeping a record of your contributions throughout the year in your “I Love Me Folder.” Don’t have one? Create one, stat. Use your basic manilla folder, electronic folder or spreadsheet to track your kudos and contributions. Be sure to listen to our podcast on the topic where we go into glowing detail as to how you can negotiate and win!

Diversify your income by starting a business (or three) including passive income strategies. Sure, there will be some necessary legwork in the beginning, maybe even a bit of burning the midnight oil initially, but taking the time to lay the right foundations will pay off in the long-term. Bootstrap your start-up, don’t go into debt to start your business, and ideally avoid the need for inventory and other costly overhead.

Use your brain – is there something you can teach, or consult/coach on? Drop shipping is another low barrier of entry business, as long as you niche down and market well. There’s a low monthly fee for the ecommerce site (like Shopify), but you can easily cover that with just a few sales. Affiliate marketing is another way to earn decent money. In all cases, you will need to market to your list. Don’t have one? Start there first.

These two strategies, learning to negotiate successfully and diversifying your income are your best hedges against your own she-cession. Take control of your financial future by educating yourself and taking appropriate action with the lessons learned.

Feel free to visit my website for additional resources on the matter. We’re building a community around this very topic, helping women take charge of their bright future. Join us. We’re here for you!

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