- Reps. Cynthia Lummis and Gwen Moore, Co-Chairs, Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues
- Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Vice-Chairs, Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues
- Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Chellie Pingree, Co-Chairs, Women and the Economy/Business Task Force, Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues
- Patricia A. Shiu, Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Department of Labor
- Cari Dominguez, Former Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2001-2006), Corporate Director, Manpower Group, Inc.
- Gilda Z. Jacobs, President & CEO, Michigan League of Human Services
- Lisa Maatz, Director, Public Policy and Government Relations, American Association for University Women
Why is this still happening in 2011? Some of the panelists offered that we need more legislation mandating gender equity and better enforcement of pay equity laws. Cari Dominguez offered that there is a "talent imbalance" meaning that women tend to seek out jobs that are traditionally lower in pay such as teaching, social work, nursing, etc. Another panelist offered that women are not well versed in salary negotiation techniques, which negatively impacts their earning potential throughout their career. There is also a cultural stigma as well as corporate polices that frown upon or prohibit sharing salary information with co-workers.
So how do we fix this problem? Along with better legislation and enforcement, other solutions offered include engaging more women in STEM fields, offering salary negotiation trainings, educating women on this issue so that they can identify discriminatory practices, improving access to the courts to file grievances, and continuing to shed light on the problem.
My top 5 takeaways are:
- Gender Wage Gap is not a women's issue, it's a family issue. The less a woman earns, the more it restricts the economic stability of a family as a whole.
- I love that women are getting off the sidelines through the Women Are Getting Even (WAGE) project.
- When women feel financially secure, they spend money, and that is a good way to boost this dragging economy. Women + pay equality = economic prosperity.
- If you don't negotiate fair pay early on in your career, it will likely decimate your earning potential throughout your entire career, affecting how much you can benefit from pension and social security income. I'm so glad PLEN incorporates salary negotiation training in its seminars!
- Ladies, we need more of you in STEM careers! Think STEM! From STEM careers stems a high-tech, more viable economy, and we should be at the forefront. We need to “Educate to Innovate”.