Gender Pay GapLB's Corner
Ladies – Know Your Worth

How many articles have you read about the “Gender Pay Gap?” If you’re anything like me, the answer is A LOT! 

The more I read, the more I wanted to explore how we here at #GirlsClub could proactively start closing the gap. Insert the always helpful, Mikelann Valterra of Seattle Money Coach. Mikelann joined us recently to provide 5 strategies to prevent underearning. 

First off, what is “Underearning?” The definition is “the pattern of earning below your potential.” Mikelann helped us understand that this does not refer to one job or an economic situation. The concept of underearning refers instead to a series of jobs or positions that were all not paid to their full potential, where we are the common denominator. We learned in our workshop that a lot of underearning is due to inaction on our part. This is a pattern that we are going to break together! Now, let’s get into the good stuff. 

Strategy #1 – Ask for What You Want

  •  We need to be looking for things that could be opportunities, not waiting until something is presented. Studies often find that women wait for an opportunity to be publicly presented as open, where a larger majority of men will inquire about an opportunity regardless of its availability. 
    • I.E. If there is a position you are interested in, inquire about it. Yes, even if it is not currently available. If you know the supervisor well enough, ask them what they look for when filling the position. Letting them know you would love to be considered when it becomes available can often be the game-changer. 
  • Mark your definition of success faster. Instead of celebrating the result, celebrate the fact you had the guts to ask the question to begin with. This can make asking the question easier! 
    • Mikelann gave us a wonderful activity to do (parents listen up, this could work for your kids too!) Get yourself a beautiful bowl, vase, or another vessel. Celebrate that first success. Every time you ask the question, give yourself permission to purchase something special to put in that bowl. For Mikelann it is a beautiful shiny agate. Maybe you love hand-blown glass marbles or sea glass from a nearby beach. Whatever your “prize” is, make it something that you love to look at. Then anytime you glance at your bowl you will be able to see all of your first wins, each one with its own unique story. 
      • Hey parents, this could be fun to start teaching your little ladies (or tiny gentlemen) how to celebrate their first wins too… maybe it will even get them to try that broccoli! 😉

Strategy #2 – Do the Research 

  • Find out the pay range of the job ahead of time. 
    • One of the most dangerous things you can do for your earning potential is set your price in a vacuum. 
  • Use your network! 
    • We, as women, have a leg up here… let’s use it. Women, on average, are better at networking and have larger bases they can reach out to. Put those connections to good use by talking with the right people about your job/industry/position. Entering into a negotiation with a wealth of knowledge can only be beneficial for you! 
  • Google!!! 
    • Search for “salary survey ____ (insert industry/job here).” This can give you a good base idea of the ballpark you might be in. 
    • *Bonus points if there is a recent survey in your actual market*

Strategy #3 – Practicing the Counter Offer

  • The next time you are offered a dollar amount counter with a better number. 
  • The key phrase here is “Would you consider.” 
    • If you want to add even more impact to your statement, be prepared with how your skills directly correlate with what the company perceives as valuable. 
      • I.E. “Given that the company is looking for XYZ that would be provided through my experience, would you consider $______.”
  • Mikelann provided one example that really hit home for me. We are going to talk about the overall earnings of two people who start at the same job and receive the same treatment over the course of their employment, but person #2 simply asks “would you consider $5k more” in their initial negotiations. Just that initial $5k increase translates to a difference of over $360,000 through the course of person #2’s employment 🤯

Strategy #4 – Knowing What You Need

  • On average, we all underestimate what we actually need to live our preferred lifestyle by 30%.
    • This is largely due to the fact that when we look to create a budget we use a typical month. Things like large periodic expenses (hello, Christmas), or savings (think retirement) are not factored into our budgeting plan. 
  •  Knowing how much you actually need will make asking for it that much easier!


Strategy #5 – Negotiating with Men

  • Be confident… fake it if you need to
  • Never say “I’m sorry” during a negotiation
  • Be “relentlessly pleasant.” Show confidence and keep coming back to the facts. 
    • **Insider Tip** If you are having trouble negotiating for yourself, like so many of us, then pretend you are negotiating on behalf of someone else. This money is going to benefit your spouse, kids, dog, etc. How tenaciously would you negotiate for them? 


After hearing all of Mikelann’s sage advice, a few of our protégé’s had some killer questions! Shout out to Kerri, Christine, & Sabrina for thinking on your feet. Before we go, I want to leave you with three quotes Mikelann provided during our chat that I thought was so poignant.

“Making sure that you’re earning what you’re really worth is a powerful form of self-care. “

“People who identify as underearners work their butts off. There is no direct correlation between how hard you work and how much you make.” 

“You get what you demand, not necessarily what you deserve.”


Now, for one last little golden nugget, Mikelann shared a link with us to download her 45 Powerful Earning Tips. Be sure to check it out and share it with all of your friends that could use a little earning boost! 

Carrie Ann White

Nice, simple, straightforward and true! Great reminder!

June 30, 2021 at 9:46 pm
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