What to Do When the Wage Gap Comes for You

Last month, Glamour invited 12 brave men and women to reveal their salary to someone in a similar position with a similar level of experience — but of the opposite gender. Our "Big Salary Reveal" feature sparked so many important conversations that we wanted to bring back some of the participants to discuss what they'd learned since the experiment. Turns out, there's way more to talk about.

First of all, gender isn't the only wage gap; there's a racial gap too, and white women are thrown into the crux of it. "Who knows who else interviewed for the job?" mused one woman, reflecting on her female-friendly but racially homogenous workplace, "and I was chosen, as a white woman."

Second, the wage gap might be old news to many of our female readers, but men have the privilege of ignoring it altogether. "I think he was a lot more surprised than I was," said a participant in the salary reveal, who earned less than the guy she was paired with.

Third, it's not just the fact of being a woman that can lower your income. It's the attendant responsibilities, the way society just isn't set up to accommodate all aspects of a woman's life. If you leave your job for a time to, say, have and raise a kid, you might come back to find your position — and your salary — greatly reduced, even if you still have more experience than the young guy in the office next to yours. It's not a case of your priorities having changed; it's that the company is, well, discriminating against moms. Men aren't financially punished for becoming dads; they actually tend to get paid more!

Finally, when you want to get better at something, get a coach! One woman uses She Negotiates, a negotiation coaching company that taught her to craft a "story" around her work. Once you understand your own value in an office, you can vocalize it to your superiors. And remember, the first number that gets mentioned in a salary negotiation is the jumping-off point for all other offers…so start high.

More From Glamour:
• Good News for 2020 College Grads: You Could Close the Gender Wage Gap
• 12 Real People Discover What the Pay Gap Looks Like
• Wage Gap Between Black and White Americans Is Worse Now Than in 1979
• Could Banning This Question From Interviews Close the Wage Gap?

Photo Credit: John Wildgoose/Getty Images