What President Obama and She Knows Taught Me About The Gender Wage Gap

What President Obama and She Knows Taught Me About The Gender Wage Gap



Last Wednesday, I had the distinct honor of attending the #ObamaTownHall meeting in Charlotte, N.C. with President Obama and SheKnows Media. The meeting, moderated by the incredible Lisa Stone, centered around a topic that I am intensely passionate about--and for good reason. The gender wage gap is an issue that is often difficult to confront or discuss, but on Wednesday, President Obama and SheKnows taught me that it's a conversation we can't afford not to have.

Here are some of my biggest takeaways from #ObamaTownHall
  • We need to make noise. There's a saying "Do as I say, not as I do." I say, we need to do both. If we want to encourage people to help bring about a change, we need to be doing the same. Write a blog post. Organize a discussion in your community. Vote. Get out and be proactive.
  • Don't give up. Ever. Things in the workplace may not necessarily be fair, but that doesn't mean we give up. If you know you have been discriminated against, fight for yourself and don't back down. 
  • It affects us all. It's easy to get lost in your own situation, but sitting in a room filled with strong, articulate, intelligent women, who each have remarkable stories of their own makes you realize that your story is not that unique. These incidents are not occurring in a vacuum. Listening to the sitting President tell you that he fears for his daughters futures was a stark reminder that we still have a long way to go. 
  • It starts at home. Children have a tendency to believe what we tell them. We need to encourage our daughters from the onset. Don't tell them to reach for the clouds, tell them to be bold and brave and dance among the stars. 
In the end, it's not just about facts and statistics. We're more than just a faceless, nameless number on a survey.  Check out the video below to meet some of the inspiring ladies (including myself!) who are taking a stand against the gender wage gap.


Want to learn more about the fight to close the gap? Here are some personal stories and resources to help get you started: 
Why It's Important to Make Noise About The Gender Wage Gap// Blog Her
No Working Woman Should Be Afraid to Stand up for her Pay// SheKnows
Pay Equity and Discrimination//Institute for For Women's Policy Research
Women and Leadership//Pew Research
7 Women Shortchanged: Stories of the Gender Wage Gap// American Association of University Women

Have you ever experienced gender wage discrimination at work? Sound off in the comment section below!

24 comments :

  1. Interesting post and well written - just wish our president was also more active in his own country !

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this post Linda. Gender wage equality affects so many families today! I'm happy so many strong women, nationally, and internationally are sounding off about it!

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  2. I really have a problem with standing up for myself in the workplace! My last job, I was surrounded by only men and I constantly felt like I was being under appreciated and talked down to. It made me so angry!! It's intimidating when your the only woman and are seen as below the opposite sex!

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    1. I hate that this happens and it can be so intimidating. I currently work in a female dominated environment, and my boss is amazing, but I've been in situations like the one you described and it can be so frustrating!

      I'm not sure if you watch/listen to Ted Talks, but this video by Sheryl Sandberg has gotten me though some rough times: http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders?language=en

      Don't let a few small minded people keep you from your "seat at the table." Thanks for sharing Channing!

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  3. I'm so glad that this conversation is happening!! We need to stand up for ourselves!!

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    1. Me too! And yes we do Rebecca! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  4. As a mother of 3 daughters, this is a giant concern and issue close to my heart. It is encouraging to know we're fighting this battle alongside one another!

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    1. Yes! I have a daughter and all I can think about is her future. I want to know that her future is secure and she'll be treated the same for the same pay as her male counterparts. Having children, especially little girls, can be a motivator to take this seriously.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Michelle

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  5. Great post! I think it is important to encourage young women to be more proactive and to reach their future goals in the workplace. It can be difficult to close the gap, but I think we are headed in the right direction.

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    1. I think we are too! I've recently become addicted to Mad Men, and it's so hard to believe that women were actually treated that way in the workplace. It's so sad to watch. We have certainly improved much since then, but we still have a ways to go!

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  6. Thanks for sharing this post. The video is great. It is tough to be in a male dominated industry and feel powerless. I try to stand up for myself as best I can, but it is certainly not easy.

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    1. Yes, it's definitely not easy. I always try to imagine what I would do if my daughter came home and told me about some of the problems and discrimination she was experiencing in the workplace. Being a momma-bear and imagining my daughter going through something similar helps me find my voice in a tough situation!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Andrea. You're not alone!

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  7. I have not had a problem with this in my past jobs,but I've never had a problem with researching pay rates and asking for what I believe I should be paid.

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    1. Good for you Melanie! You should always, always ask for what you know you're worth!

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  8. I have honestly never experienced this, but I'm sure it's quite frustrating! It's another benefit to being self-employed and in charge of your own income. :)

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    1. While I was researching for a paper on gender disparities in the workplace, I found that African American women are currently leading the pack when it comes to entrepreneurship and starting their own businesses. That is quite telling in itself. I suppose if we can't find a way to make it work for us, we just peel away from the traditional "9-5" in favor of our own business.

      I'm happy to see that you've found a way to make it work for you. We need more business savvy women who aren't afraid to take the road less traveled!

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  9. I'm so glad this topic has been brought out into the open. This is something that is long overdue in this country,

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  10. This is an interesting issue, and I am always struggling with the challenges that women have to face in the workplace. I often wonder how much of the wage discrepancies is due to the fact that women have a harder work-life balance than do men.

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  11. Wow! It sounds like you had such a wonderful experience and it is important that we continue to discuss these issues so that things will change.

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  12. What a great experience! Wage equality is something we all need to be talking about. I personally haven't ever had a problem with being paid the same as the men I work with, but I know many women who get paid much less than they are worth. :( That needs to change.

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  13. Wow, what an exciting experience! I don't think people really realize how important the gender wage gape issue is, especially with single parenting households being mainly headed by women. Even my own husband, who is rather a feminist, if I dare say, does not get it. He has this stupid idea that the wage gap is not real.

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  14. How cool that you got to attend this town hall meeting!

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  15. I agree that lip service only goes so far. We really have to get out there and get our hands dirty if we to see the wage gap closed between male and female employees. Kudos to our President for joining in on this fight because I've heard more than a few men, who don't believe we as women deserve equal pay, criticize him for speaking out on this issue. As a mom with both a son and a daughter, I'm definitely raising them as equals.

    I would be devastated if my son ever thought that he was more valuable or deserved to be paid more than his sister just because he's a male. We as parents have to make sure that we are instilling the right values and morals in our children to make sure they continue to progress forward and not move backwards in the future.

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  16. This is interesting. I'm in a female dominated government industry. We have classes, so the same positions start off at the same amount. There's really not much negotiating around that. We all know what everyone makes...but aside from that, I feel this is very important across the board and in all industries!! We still have a lot of work to do as a country! We might as well start now, even if we feel like our one little self won't change much!! There are definitely some good points listed and some good things to take away from this post!

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