April 4th is Equal Pay Day in the USA. This date symbolizes how far into the year women have to work to earn what men earned in a previous year. Women working full time are paid 80 cents for every dollar a man makes working full time according to the Economic Policy Institute. The date changes annually. In 2016 it was April 12. The 2016 Equal Pay Day Presidential Proclamation stated that women were making 79 cents on the dollar compared to men.

So….Women are earning 1 cent more on the dollar this year and equalizing out seven days early.  I call that a day late and several dollars short. What can you do about it besides joining a protest and becoming an activist? Act on your behalf and put your foot down.

First, accept that the wage gap is for real and you probably will be offered less. Then reject the first offer. Push back and negotiate and don’t worry about coming on too strong. Business people appreciate a strong negotiator.

Second, if someone says they want to “pick your brain,” nicely say as I recently did that you’d be happy to schedule a meeting to discuss their needs and the services you can offer them as a hired consultant.

Third, if someone wants to get together to discuss a “meaningful collaboration,” be prepared for the “give and get,” as in “give your time to help us and get a great rate of return on your investment later…..maybe.”

Finally, If you choose to give away your time and expertise to help out others, that is fabulous! I am all for mentoring to help open doors for others and volunteers are essential for charities and other non profits. The keyword is “choice.”

I’ve worked for free. I’ve worked for less. And I’ve worked for myself. I’ve learned that you are always worth more than you think you are. You need to believe it. Stand your ground. Know your value and make sure others know and respect it. And make sure you treat anyone you hire with the same consideration you expect for yourself.  Learn more at www.pay-equity.org

Tweet this!  Never underestimate the value of what know, what you can do and the impact you can make. #FearlessFabulousYou @mightymelanie