On Leaning In: Pay Equity

By Anitra Cottledge

My first post in a couple of months and I’m thinking not strictly about tech, but about pay equity and salary negotiation. By now, I gather that most reading this have heard/seen the “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders” TED talk by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. But if you haven’t, here’s an opportunity to do so.

Her key messages for women in the workforce: “One, sit at the table. Two, make your partner a real partner. And three, don’t leave before you leave.”

I use this video a lot in trainings. I think it has a lot of uses; it can be a vehicle to talk about women’s leadership, women’s relationship to power and privilege, confidence, workplace climate issues, salary negotiation and by extension, pay equity. Sometimes, people love the video when I show it, and other times, people have plenty of critique. And sometimes, people have both reactions at the same time, which is wonderful for dialogue.

A few other things on my radar re: Sheryl Sandberg and pay equity:

  • She’s (Rarely) the Boss – NYT op-ed piece by Nicholas Kristof, which talks about (in part), Sandberg’s ideas about gender gaps in the boardroom. “We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives, the messages that say it’s wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, more powerful than men. We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve. We continue to do the majority of the housework and child care. We compromise our career goals to make room for partners and children who may not even exist yet.”
  • Lest you think that Sandberg doesn’t think that men also have a responsibility to create a gender-fair workplace: “I am hoping that each woman will set her own goals and reach for them with gusto,” Sandberg writes. “And I am hoping that each man will do his part to support women in the workplace and in the home, also with gusto.” However, this article written in response really emphasizes that responsibility that men have.
  • More on the pay-equity-and-economic-justice-as-systemic-issues front: “Trickle-Down Feminism” and an earlier piece called “Paycheck Feminism.”

Thoughts? What are some other resources that you’ve found online about pay equity and women in the workplace?

On Leaning In: Pay Equity