S.H.E. Matters: Bringing Home the Bacon (Or Not) in Florida
The gender wage gap is not a new phenomenon, nor is it occurring in any one isolated area of the United States.
That being said, how often do we actually stop to learn more about how it functions at home and in our own communities? After all, the gender wage gap is not some unfortunate thing that is happening somewhere else. It’s happening right here, right now.
So, what does that mean for us?
A Focus on Floridian Finances
While it is not as bad here as it is in some other states, here in Florida, the wage gap isn’t all sunny-side up.
“In 2019, Florida women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $759, or 85.1 percent of the $892 median usual weekly earnings of their male counterparts,” as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
That is to say, wages are still not equal. But let’s narrow the scope a little more.
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, women of color face even greater wage disparities in the Sunshine State. Where white, non-Hispanic women make $11,186 less per year on average in comparison to men…
- Asian American women are paid $12,067 less per year on average
- Black women are paid $16,919 less per year on average
- Latina women are paid $18,057 less per year on average
And that’s only some of the minority populations.
Just Doing the Math in Jacksonville
Mad Men Marketing is headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, which is why we wanted to take a moment to focus on our own general metro area.
And statistics published by the Pew Research Center show that the gender wage gap in Jacksonville only widens with age:
- Female employees in Jacksonville between the ages of 16 and 29 “earned 94% of what men their age earned in 2019.”
- Female employees in Jacksonville between the ages of 30 and 49 “earned 82% of what men their age earned in 2019.”
- Female employees in Jacksonville over the age of 50 “earned 73% of what men their age earned in 2019.”
But that’s not all.
Women in Jacksonville don’t only earn less than their male colleagues, but they also make less than the national average wage overall, thereby putting them at an even greater financial disadvantage.
“Workers in the Jacksonville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $24.96 in May 2021, about 11 percent below the nationwide average of $28.01,” the BLS reported in 2021. “After testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in 20 of the 22 major occupational groups.”
S.H.E. Matters in the Sunshine State
So, how can we work harder to close the gap here in our own home? Well, there’s no one simple answer.
That being said, the Center for American Progress (CAP) argues that “in order to advance economic security for women and families in Florida, policymakers should prioritize policies that ensure economic equality and health care access for all.”
But what do you think? And have you personally witnessed or experienced these financial obstacles yourself? If you have further thoughts, questions, or suggestions on this topic, we’d love to hear from you!
The Wage Gap in Tech: No Industry is Immune
We know that the gender wage gap exists, and we know it’s not going to manifest in exactly the same way for women of different races or socioeconomic backgrounds.
But how might their job fit into the larger picture?
The Inconsistence of Industries
The pay gap won’t look the same between any two working women, seeing as the industry they work in may largely dictate just how large the gap is — as well as whether or it will begin to close or widen further over time.
For example, in the food service industry, Statista reports that women make a median earning of about $521 per week, whereas men make approximately $617 per week in the same position.
But this gap is still relatively small compared to other industries, particularly if they are considered male-dominated.
That being said, “male-dominated fields — like tech, for example — tend to pay better than ones where women make up the majority, regardless of the level of skill or experience required for the roles,” CodeAcademy points out.
But that doesn’t mean that the pay gap doesn’t exist for women in these fields at an even wider gap than others. Let’s take a look at IT, for example…
It’s All in the Numbers
Oftentimes, the problems may start on Day 1. In fact, “59% of the time, men were offered higher salaries than women for the same job title at the same company in 2020, compared to 65% in 2019,” a report by Hired revealed.
And when women start at a financial disadvantage compared to their male colleagues, the difference adds up and only makes it increasingly difficult to catch up for the duration of their career.
“Median total compensation for female IT pros in 2021 was $105,000, the same as it was in 2020,” as reported by InformationWeek. That compares to the median total compensation for male IT pros of $128,000 in 2021, up from $125,000 in 2020.”
Thus, even those women in the revered STEM field may still struggle to earn the salary that matches their overall skill, experience, and expertise.
Where the Problem STEMs From
There are numerous factors that contribute to the overall gender wage gap — the likes of which often intersect with race — but what may contribute to the gap in technology, specifically?
“Stanford researchers who studied this disparity discovered that there is in fact one credential that separates these new hires: self-confidence,” according to the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “Employers in engineering and computer science fields appear to offer higher starting salaries to applicants who present as self-assured, and those applicants are mostly men.”
In other words, employers are more likely to judge a candidate’s productivity and success based on a slight behavioral difference while in the interview room… the likes of which have nothing to do with their actual competence.
This may be especially concerning as research suggests female students demonstrate less overall confidence in both math and science compared to their male classmates.
Thus, it is increasingly important that we support female students and entry-level women in STEM to ensure they can advance in their careers just as successfully as men. Between confidence and competency, women are worth just as much as their male colleagues.
If you have further thoughts, questions, or suggestions on salary negotiations, we’d love to hear from you!
S.H.E. Matters & Negotiations: Can We Put Our Money Where Our Mouth Is?
The wage gap and the broken rung are but two phenomena among many that illustrate women’s inequality in the workplace. And seeing as both have to do with a woman’s position and subsequent compensation, there’s another topic all its own that deserves attention:
The matter of salary negotiations.
Namely, how have they contributed to workplace inequality, and what can women do to feel more confident and prepared when it comes time to walk into the room?
The Salary Negotiation Gap
Contrary to some internet discourse, let’s address the fact that women absolutely do negotiate for higher pay. The problem, however, is that different expectations and behaviors that are considered “appropriate” in the workplace lead men to negotiate more often than their female colleagues.
For example, “in 2018, 68 percent of men and 45 percent of women negotiated their salaries,” as reported by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “[and] in 2017, 46 percent of men and 34 percent of women did so.”
That being said, requesting a raise is one thing, but being offered one is another. That is, not all women feel comfortable negotiating an offer once it’s on the table.
In fact, “only 16 percent of respondents always negotiate compensation when a job offer is made or during performance evaluations,” Christina Lopez of career website Monster wrote. “Some respondents believe their companies would acknowledge and reward their accomplishments and efforts, and use that as an excuse to avoid negotiating altogether.”
Thus, empowering women in these scenarios is increasingly important.
Why It’s Harder for Women
Oftentimes, even when a woman is ready and willing to aim for a raise, her incentive in and of itself may be a detriment to her financial goal.
“The bad news is that women pay a penalty when they negotiate,” Lean In explains. “They’re more likely to receive feedback that they are ‘intimidating,’ ‘too aggressive,’ or ‘bossy.’”
Similarly, Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Julian Zlatev conducted a study involving over 2,5000 women who had experience attempting to negotiate their compensation. Their efforts were dubbed a “catch-22” for women.
Why? Because Zlatev and her colleagues in the study “found evidence that women who felt empowered at the negotiation table were more likely to reach worse deals or no deal at all. The results held regardless of their negotiation partners’ gender.”
As a result, many women feel discouraged from attempting to initiate the negotiation process in the first place, thereby contributing to the existing wage gap.
How to Negotiate
While there’s, unfortunately, no magic button for putting an end to subconscious biases — or outright prejudices — at the negotiation table, there are steps women can take to at least feel more confident and prepared.
For example, “it’s helpful to look at salary-data resources on sites like LinkedIn, PayScaleand Glassdoor,” Forbes recommends. “This will give you a clearer idea of how much you can negotiate for. Then, take this information and come up with a rate that is fair and appropriate.”
What’s more, we recommend that women make it more difficult to dispute their right to a higher wage by focusing on their value to the company. Namely, if at all possible, try using numbers:
- How did you contribute to company metrics?
- Did you increase team productivity?
- Did you enhance your department’s revenue stream or savings threshold?
- And more
Finally, it all comes down to practice.
Once you have all of the key points prepared for your negotiation, take the time to make a script and practice it before you walk through the door. This way, even if nerves and/or an adrenaline rush obstruct your line of thinking, you have the strength of repetition on your side.
And no matter how it turns out, don’t forget your worth.
If you have further thoughts, questions, or suggestions on salary negotiations, we’d love to hear from you!
(S.H.E. Matters) Can You Cause Change By Coining a Term?: Exploring the “Girl Boss” Phenomenon
The push for women’s equality in the workplace cannot only be tackled using one frame of mind.
After all, the challenge in and of itself is multifaceted, meaning it will take a variety of methods and steps in order to achieve change that is both lasting and comprehensive. And while we believe the first step, of course, is to pay female employees equally, other approaches may also be taken into consideration.
For example, some individuals or businesses wield language as their weapon in the world, either to bring attention to certain aspects of the problem or to ultimately change the perception of others.
So, when it comes to women’s workplace equality, how exactly does the familiar term “girl boss” fit into the bigger picture? Does it have the ability to move the needle?… And should it at all?
Girl Bossing Our Way Through History
Widely known as a controversial hashtag and (potential) expression of female empowerment, the term “girl boss” got its start in 2014 by Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amorusa. Specifically, it was popularized when she published her bestselling autobiography, “#Girlboss.”
“A Girl Boss is someone who has big dreams and is willing to work hard for them,” Amorusa explained in a 2014 interview with Elle. “So being a Girl Boss is really about being the boss of your own life. You don’t have to be the boss of anyone else to be a Girl Boss.”
That being said, the term has, in fact, been widely applied to instances wherein a female entrepreneur or managerial figure was involved. Thus, the corporate phenomenon only grew.
Of course, the concept of female empowerment and equality within the workplace is hardly new. Though this particular term for the sentiment was finally coined within the last decade, its roots actually go back much further.
“Girlbossery feels recent, but is an 80s idea re-marketed for the 2010s,” as broken down in an article written for Vice. “[The girl boss] came about when the long tail of baby boomer women picking up the labour slack from men at war meant that women were entering the workforce in greater numbers, balancing careerism with co-parenting.”
Consequently, some women have wholeheartedly embraced the title of “girl boss,” drawing both inspiration and strength from a term that encapsulates the intersection of their identity and their career.
Is This Goodbye, Girl Boss?
While the idea of the “girl boss” was lauded for a few years following the rise of Sophia Amorusa, it largely proved fleeting. Now considered “infantalizing” and “sexist,” the broader conversation around the term is largely one of condemnation.
In fact, the term is even ingrained in internet meme culture. “Gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss,” for example, is a popularized play on “live, laugh, love” that also points out the perceived toxicity behind the girl boss concept.
“Have you ever heard a male worker referred to as a #boyboss?” Refinery29 asks. “No. That’s because men’s power in the workplace is still the default. It’s the status quo and anything a woman does is still an exception, an anomaly.”
The rise of “girl boss” branding has led to the generation of new, similarly functioning terms: think “She-E-O” or “boss bitch.” But that’s not where the arguably cringe-worthy marketing antics stop.
One example? A poster ad designed in 2019 by PeoplePerHour, a company whose mission is to connect freelancers with clients.
“You do the girl boss thing,” the poster proclaimed, complete with the portrait of a smiling woman, “we’ll do the SEO thing.”
Unsurprisingly, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the United Kingdom received and upheld numerous complaints regarding the poster, which they said “[reinforced] harmful gender stereotypes” and thus broke their codes and rulings.
As a result, PeoplePerHour issued an apology and edited the ad to remove the word “girl.” According to the ASA, PeoplePerHour admitted that the ad could “could come across as patronising and reductive.”
Can You Guess What We Think of Girl Boss?
Whether or not the term “girl boss” is productive, positive, or even necessary is up for debate and will change from one person to another.
That’s why we decided to turn inward for a moment. Specifically, we wanted to know: What do the women of Mad Men Marketing themselves think of the term?
Nicole S., Social Media Manager:
“Girl Boss, what a term. It surely isn’t my favorite. I personally think it’s a little cringy. Not only have influencers run it into the ground, but why can’t we just use ‘boss’? If someone just simply described another woman as a ‘boss,’ I feel that is much more powerful.”
Gina, Executive Vice President and Director of Traffic:
“I honestly hate the term, I feel like if I’m a boss then I’m a boss, you know? The term boss doesn’t automatically have to be male. Why do people have to put a gender on everything?”
Tamara, Director of Production:
“I’ve always strongly disliked the term ‘Girl Boss’ along with other unnecessarily gendered terms like ‘Male Nurse’ or ‘Female Pilot.’ It implies that those job titles are inherently reserved for one sex, and while I recognize that historically those roles have been filled by one or the other, I don’t believe we should give power to that segregation through the use of gendered labels.
There is something particularly grating about the term ‘Girl Boss’ though; it feels very infantilizing in a way that says ‘Aw, it’s so cute that you’re a girl and a boss at the same time, good for you.’ I know that there are women who like to own this label though, and more power to them, but I do not personally identify with those women. I’ve never considered myself to be particularly feminine or even masculine for that matter. Either way, I don’t want anyone (especially men) to call me a Girl-Anything; I am a boss who just happens to be a woman. That’s it.”
Nicole F. Executive Assistant:
“I don’t like to term something as ‘Girl Boss’ just because I think it sounds immature. If we want to make strides in owning something, I feel it’s important not to come off as ‘cutesy,’ which is what that term represents to me. Whenever I hear that I think of, like, a little girl learning to ride her bike and being coined ‘girl boss.’ I want to be a BOSS, not a girl boss. We’re women and we’re bosses and we OWN it.”
Kandi, Vibe Curator:
“The term girlboss feels closed-minded to me. Reflection leads to me to believe I feel this way because I don’t think gender assignments should exist, nor are they formative to me. I don’t particularly care for gender labels like boy, girl, and the like. Even as the mother to three humans the medical system labeled as male, I do not call myself a ‘boy mom.’ Quantifying the label ‘boss’ with gender goes against my core beliefs about not having gender assigned on paper, to people, nor to products or bathrooms.”
Sam, Copy Chief
“I have no interest in being called a ‘girl boss.’ To me, it ultimately lands flat because it feels like it’s a gratuitous nod to feminism with no real substance behind it. Just calling someone a ‘girl boss’ doesn’t move the needle forward — especially when the term is also used in a demeaning way. I’d rather do away with it altogether.”
But what about you? What do you, as a woman in the workforce, think of the term “girl boss”?
We’d love to hear from you.
Workplace Inequality 101: An Introduction to S.H.E. Matters
As Mad Men Marketing launches a new initiative aimed at empowering the voices of women across all industries — Support Her Equality (S.H.E.) Matters — we wanted to stop to break down the basics of workplace inequality.
Namely, in the below blog we explore the wage gap, intersectionality, and more.
After all, without first identifying and acknowledging the existing obstacles to women in the workforce, we’ll never be able to truly overcome them.
The Basics of Wage Inequality
The matter of wage inequality has been both acknowledged and debated for decades, but the needle has remained relatively slow to move. Thankfully, it has not stopped moving altogether.
“In 2020, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings that were 82 percent of those of male full-time wage and salary workers,” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2021. “In 1979, the first year for which comparable earnings data are available, women’s earnings were 62 percent of men’s.”
Based on the aforementioned information, we can begin to see how, over time, the wage gap has begun to close. That being said, workplace equality cannot be deemed “achieved” until that gap no longer exists.
Moreover, the wage gap between men and women is varied — and further exacerbated — by a woman’s racial identity, meaning we need to take an intersectional approach in studying and remediating this nuanced obstacle.
The Matter of Intersectionality
“There has never been a time in this country when there has not been a wage gap that exists along intersecting gender and racial lines,” the Center of American Progress affirmed in an article exploring the depths of the wage gap with regard to women of color.
For example, the following breakdown of women’s earnings according to their identified ethnicity has been calculated by the American Association of University Women (AAUW):
Women’s Earnings as a Percentage of White Men’s Earnings, by Race/Ethnicity
- White alone, not Hispanic or Latino — 79%
- Black or African American — 63%
- American Indian and Alaska Native — 60%
- Asian — 87%
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander — 63%
- Hispanic or Latino origin — 55%
With these numbers broken down so plainly, it’s easy to see how workplace inequality is not merely a matter of gender. Consequently, even if the wage gap were to eventually close between white women and men, there is no guarantee that women of color would be able to catch up at the same time.
The Introduction of the Broken Rung
You’ve heard of the glass ceiling, but have you heard of the broken rung?
Simply put, the broken rung theory applies to the specific phenomenon wherein women are less likely to obtain promotions that lead them up the leadership ladder in their workplace(s).
What’s more? It starts at the very bottom and continually narrows as it goes up, making a woman’s first few years in an entry-level position critical.
“Women continue to face a broken rung at the first step up to manager: for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted,” as reported in McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace report for 2021. “As a result, men outnumber women significantly at the manager level, which means that there are far fewer women to promote to higher levels.”
With all this being said, we have to acknowledge that this is by no means a comprehensive review of the facts, figures, and realities of workplace inequality.
We have not yet addressed motherhood, for example, as a driving force behind these disparities, among other variables. However, we do hope to slowly and systematically take a look at these matters, in addition to the personal stories of leading women in our communities.
So, do you have a story you’d like to share with S.H.E. Matters?
Is there a resource or organization you believe deserves more attention?
Or do you know an incredible woman who has more than earned the spotlight on her accomplishments?
We’d love to hear from you.