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How women (and businesses) in Colorado can fight for equal pay

Equal pay is coming. Here’s how we get there


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The first women’s rights meeting in America dates back to 1848. During the gathering, one of the leaders of the event, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, rearranged the words of the Declaration of Independence. She bravely stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.” 

Fast forward 171 years: society still reveres men more than women. Where is the evidence of this? The payroll gap between the two sexes. To understand this better, let’s take a look at the wage gaps that exist between men and women in Colorado.

Understanding Colorado’s wage gap

Consider this situation: a woman and a man work in the same full-time job with the exact same hours and workload. Most would assume that both employees receive the same pay, but that’s not the case. In Colorado, on average, women working full-time jobs receive $7,244 less than their male coworkers.

Discrimination continues to haunt the U.S., and Colorado is no better than any other state. Statistics declare that the amount earned per dollar by women in comparison to men, despite obtaining the same level of education and having the same level of experience, varies between the different races of women.

On average, white women earn 77.1 cents on the male dollar, while black women take home 65.5 cents, and Hispanic women collect a measly 53.8 cents. Unfortunately, if we fail to acknowledge and pay attention to these drastic wage gaps, equal pay won’t exist until 2057. We can’t wait another 38 years for equal pay.

What can be both companies and individuals do to speed up the process? Let’s find out.

Share data with your employer

As individuals, women can do research on websites like Glassdoor, PayScale and Salary.com to find out what pay is competitive for the job performed. Once we summarize the right data, women should discuss pay and performance with employers.

To make the most impact, women must emphasize the value they bring to the job in the context of the employer’s goals. When they begin the conversation the right way, there’s a higher chance that they will receive the pay that is deserved.

Companies can perform a pay equity analysis

Unconscious bias and discrimination still influence the pay gap, and companies can do their part to distinguish whether their business bases their wages on race, gender, religion and age.

How can they determine this? By performing a pay equity analysis. A pay equity analysis will highlight whether the company bases its pay decisions on discriminatory factors rather than on bona fide factors such as performance, results and experience. If it is determined discriminatory factors are in play, the company leaders need to implement the right changes as soon as possible.

Adhere to the Equal Pay Law

Finally, companies need to align their practices to the laws that relate to equal pay in Colorado

As of Jan. 1, 2021, Colorado will have to abide by a new Equal Pay Law. This new law requires employers and hiring managers to disclose the hourly rate or salary when posting jobs and declare the benefits that come with the position. Employers must also inform every single one of their employees about promotion opportunities on the same day.

All in all, the new law aims to destroy discrimination that can lead to unequal pay. Companies who want to attract the right talent and keep employees around for a long time know how vital it is to pay competitive salary rates and to make pay-change decisions based on relevant factors such as performance and potential.

What are some other things to consider?

As individuals, we can vote in each election. We need to ask the question: Who are the political candidates that are pushing policies that will impact the economic growth of Colorado? We hold the power of the vote, so we can decide who determines our future.

Statusofwomendata.org declares that “women in Colorado earn $10,000 per year less than their male counterparts, are 30% more likely to live in poverty and are 65% less likely than men to own businesses.

However, when the right political candidate steps up and is focused on closing the gender wage gap, Colorado’s economy will grow dramatically. In fact, estimates suggest it could earn around $9.2 billion more. As a result, the poverty gap would close, and the economy would skyrocket. How? Women make up 70% to 80% of consumer purchasing decisions, therefore lowering the poverty rate and instilling equal pay will benefit all businesses.

The question is what will you do next? You can sit back and hope for the right changes to take place in your lifetime or you can take action.

Denise Liebetrau is the CEO of Prosper Consulting, a firm providing HR and compensation consulting, as well as career and salary negotiation coaching.

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