My Grad School Research Project: The Gender Pay Gap

Women in business - Gender Pay Gap - UW Communication Leadership - Communication Challenge

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to Emma’s Edition! Instead of my usual style or lifestyle posts, I wanted to share with you today my communication challenge/research project that I’ve been working on this past fall quarter in graduate school. I decided to focus on the gender pay gap. My main research question that I’ve been working towards a solution this quarter is:

What communication strategies can we equip women to encourage them to speak up about their value – especially in times of promotion and negotiating pay?

In 2017, women are still making 80% to what white men are earning. And Latina and African American women are making 54-64% of what white men are making.

Why I chose to focus on the gender pay gap:

I was inspired to pursue this trend because I’m now in my mid twenties. My (girl) friends and I are starting to experience promotions in our career. One of my friends in particular was promoted into a finance management role. She was given a 28% pay increase and accepted without negotiating. While her male peer received the same promotion and asked for more money…and received a higher pay increase.

Another friend of mine is a computer science engineer. She realized she was being underpaid in her group but kept silent about it for two years. It wasn’t until she got a new manager on her team who adjusted her pay during her promotion. In both cases, my friends were unaware that they could ask for more.

What my friends experienced really got me riled up. We are all hard working women and we deserve to be paid the same amount as our male counterparts.

So I wanted to focus on letting other women know that they can and should ask for their value – especially in their careers and businesses.

Gender Pay Gap - Grad School Research Challenge

Seattle Style - Gender Pay Gap - Communication Grad School Research

What should we do about the gender pay gap?

I know I can’t solve the gender pay gap in 10 weeks, but I do want to bring awareness and/or some sort of a solution to the gender pay gap. So I’m reaching out to you guys today to see if you can help me deliver a solution. I’m thinking about these 6 different points to build a conversation or campaign around:

  1. The Gender Pay Gap is Not a Myth (source)

  2. Gender Bias in the Workplace + Society

  3. How/Why to speak up about your value

  4. Why the traditional corporate workplace needs to change (the motherhood penalty vs. the fatherhood reward)

  5. As women, how our conversations around money have to change

  6. How the gender pay gap creates unequal wealth distribution in society

And with these 6 topics, I have a few questions for you:

1. Did you know the gender pay gap still exist today? Did you know that women are making 80 cents to a dollar a man earns?

2. Secondly, what type of coaching have you had in your career about how to speak up about your value/ask for pay and promotion?

3. And lastly, are there 2-3 topics listed above that really resonate with you? (example: The Gender Pay Gap is Not a Myth)

 

My Ultimate Goal for the Gender Pay/Communication Research Challenge:

I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do in terms of a solution but I do want to focus on relevant topics that help the most people. My goal for this project is just to help 5 women understand the gender pay gap and help them feel confident to speak up about their value in the workplace – so they can ask for pay and promotions.

I would honestly appreciate any feedback, answers to these questions, and your thoughts around the gender pay gap! Please feel free to comment on the blog, comment on instagram, or email me personally at emmasedition@emmasedition.com!

Love,

Emma

Photos: Holly Phan

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2 Comments

  1. November 6, 2017 / 11:48 pm

    Oh wow I really really love this blog post. Your writing always helps me improve little areas of my life so first, thanks for that. Gosh this is such an interesting and much needed conversation you chose for your project. All topics sound super interesting but I would love to hear more about topic no 4 (Why the traditional corporate workplace needs to change) or no 3 ( How/why to speak up about your value)

  2. November 8, 2017 / 2:03 pm

    Yes!!! So glad you’re tackling this topic. I really like how you’re addressing it with dimensionality instead of reducing it to one problem – because it’s the result of a lot of different things and we need to work on them all to make changes. I think financial literacy is a huge issue because women just generally aren’t encouraged or taught to handle finances the way men are, so that’s something I want to work on for myself.

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