Women are underrepresented and underpaid in business. We all know the statistics.
The average full-time weekly salary for women is 15.3% less than for men; women retire with 42% less superannuation; and 29.1% of organisations reporting into the Workplace Gender Equality Agency this year had no key female management personnel. Dismal at best.
Do we wait for governments to ‘fix’ inequality? Should we leave it to big corporates to ensure equal gender representation within their c-suites? We think not.
Just as women in history around the world have fought and continue to fight for their rights, so must we now. Research indicates it will take 80 years for gender inequality to even out. We can’t wait that long – it’s time for all women to speak up and ask for what we want.
I’ve been working with women for more than two decades in all settings – business, as leaders, in relationships, dealing with domestic violence, helping build confidence and inspiring women is part of my everyday life. Empowering women to thrive is my passion.
A lack of confidence and self-belief are the two ‘killer’ challenges most modern-day women face. We doubt and second-guess ourselves daily without realising we have everything we need to be successful in our roles. The fact is, women do two thirds of the world’s work, but only earn ten percent of the income, and of the 1.4 billion people living on just over $1 a day, 70% are women and girls.
It’s time for change.
By believing in our worth and finding our voice, women should be adequately compensated for the value they bring to any business. If women in business don’t take control and turn these statistics around, who will? We need to stand up, stand firm, stand together and stand for what we bring to any company, irrespective of level.
Whether you’re an employee asking for the salary you deserve, a startup walking into a seed funding pitch, or a small business owner negotiating a contract with a new client, it’s time. Build confidence through preparation – research your industry, compare your salary or fee, look at your skills and competencies, focus on the results you have achieved. You have the figures. Now go and claim what is yours.
Practice what you will say, how you will say it and the body language you will use when you say it. Find a trusted friend or colleague to help you with this – get it right!
Now walk into that room with confidence and take control of the conversation, remembering to highlight your strengths, achievements and what value you bring. It’s all about the value.
We all need to take responsibility. Individuals, law and policy makers, organisations and governments. There is no reason a woman should earn less than a man doing the same job. But it’s the reality, and eighty years is a long time to wait for change.
All of us can be our own champion. It is up to us to design and live the life we want, and to live it to the fullest.
Caryn Walsh is a International Business Leader, Motivational Speaker, Women’s Coach and Founder of the Be Unstoppableand Empowering Women to Thrive at Work Women’s Empowerment Programs.