What needs to be done on a broader societal level to close the gender wage gap? Diane Bourdo, president of wealth management firm The Humphreys Group in San Francisco, California, shared six recommendations with Authority Magazine.
- Increase the national minimum wage to $15 per hour. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, women made up 63 percent of all workers being paid at or below minimum wage. Increasing the minimum wage could be significant in lifting women and families out of poverty, boosting their earning power and setting them on track toward continued, and long-term, financial success.
- Legislate equal pay. A 2018 Harvard Business Review article outlines recent research showing that women ask for raises just as often as men do, but they are less likely to get them. With this impossible-to-ignore data, it seems that rather than changing ourselves, we need to change the system — and that starts with legislating equal pay laws.
- Pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). “I remember the first time I became aware of the fight for the ERA,” Bourdo said. “I was about 13 years old, waiting for my piano lesson to begin. I sat across from a very cool teenage girl wearing an ERA/Wonder Woman t-shirt. Given how long ago that was, we’re long overdue to make this happen.”
- Recognize systemic and structural barriers for women in higher-paying industries.
- Challenge corporate CEO leadership.
- Talk about it. “We need to start talking straightforwardly and transparently about compensation with our female friends, family and colleagues,” Bourdo said. “At a legislative level, requiring the publication of salary data will also help reveal and remediate pay inequality across industries. In so many organizations, women don’t know how steep pay inequality is — and therefore, have no opportunities to address it — because it is all kept confidential. This needs to change.”
Authority Magazine, a Medium publication, is devoted to sharing interesting interview series featuring people who are authorities in business, film, sports, and tech. Authority Magazine uses interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.