The Sony hacks gained
international attention from the release of the movie The Interview. These
hacks lead to the release of some salary information for a few film stars – and
that information revealed a surprising and significant wage gap in the
For example, Amy Adams and
Jennifer Lawrence reportedly only received 7 percent of the film’s profits for
their work on American Hustle, while their male costars Bradley Cooper and
Christian Bale received 9 percent.
The good news is that the
women of Hollywood are doing something about this gap. Charlize Theron, who
starred in Snow and the Huntsman, negotiated for salary equality for the
2016 sequel after she found out she was making less than her costar Chris
Not only are women
underpaid, but they are also underrepresented. In Silicon Valley, for example,
women make up only 11 percent of executives. Women make up 10 percent of
directors, 10 percent of committee members, and 8 percent of committee chairs
in the Silicon Valley 150, the Bay Area’s top tech companies. What’s even worse
is that in some cases, male Silicon Valley workers can earn up to 73 percent
more than female workers with the same skills.
There are millions of cases
like these, in every industry and country.
The question is, why is this
still happening? The facts have been researched, verified, and explained to
professionals for decades. Why don’t the people in charge seem to be listening?
I believe that the gender
wage gap is the result of subconscious discrimination, and everyone is guilty
of contributing to it. As Daniel Roberts wrote for Fortune, “The problem with
unconscious bias is that it is often invisible to managers; they may
rationalize inequities and fail to consider that their biases – unchallenged
assumptions – may be influencing how they set employee pay.”
the Wage Gap in Your Workplace
There are many things that
we can all do to help close – and even end – the wage gap in our industries.
For example, it’s common for young women to be advised to negotiate hard and
early in both the interview process and performance reviews – which is really
great advice for any young professional.
Here are a few other ideas:
1. Business Owners/CEOs:
Don’t wait until the last minute to create compensation models – and if/when
you divert from them, ask yourself why. Keep in mind that in many states, it’s
illegal to ask or suggest that your employees keep their pay information to
themselves. Some companies, like Buffer, have even gone as far as to implement
total pay transparency.
2. Managers: Work with
employees who are parents (both mothers and fathers) to support them and keep
them productive. Try viewing them as training investments. You’ve already
invested in helping them learn about the company. Don’t wear them out with too
many responsibilities before they’re ready to come back to work full time.
3. Professionals: Always
negotiate your starting salary and your raises during performance reviews.
Specifically ask what you can do to improve your salary or hourly rate, and
then do it. If you notice a pay disparity, don’t assume it’s due to the gender
gap. Instead, make a case for the compensation you believe you deserve and take
it to your manager.
4. Colleagues: Try not to
belittle or ignore pay disparity at your company, especially if you see it.
Instead, try to foster a supportive, collaborative environment.
I welcome additional input
from others who have faced this issue in the comments.
A version of this article
originally appeared on Forbes.