Equal Pay Day: How to Negotiate for Yourself

The March 31 campaign is all about raising awareness of the wage gap between men and women.

How strong are your negotiating skills?It’s an excellent day to ask yourself this question, since Equal Pay Day falls on March 31 this year.

The date marks the average amount of additional time it takes for a woman to earn what her male counterpart earned in 12 months in the previous year.

The National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) launched the idea in 1996 to raise awareness of the gap between men’s and women’s wages. This year, with more than 3 million Americans suddenly out of work because of the COVID_19 pandemic, the wage discrepancies can seem even more stark.

“The issues we have long been fighting for are now alarmingly urgent: Low-wage workers—54 percent of whom are women—are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic as they lose jobs by the millions,” said Kim Churches, CEO of the American Association of University Women, in a statement.

Overall, women working full time, year-round in the U.S. earned 81.6¢ to every dollar earned by men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Over the span of a career, wage disparities can result in over $1 million in lost income, according to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC).

Equal pay advocates stress the importance of articulating your worth in the marketplace.

Here are three tips for negotiating your salary and getting paid what you deserve:

Understand your worth. Before you speak to a recruiter or prospective boss, always do your research. Start by checking out comparable positions at online sites like PayScale,, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Be strategic. For example, instead of disclosing your salary range upfront, leave the boxes on the job application blank, and put an asterisk with a phrase like, “I would be glad to discuss in an interview.” If a subsequent offer is too low, but you still want the position, give some examples of how you bring value to the organization.

Always negotiate. “If you can get me X, I’ll accept the offer right away” are the magic words, according to Inc.

Equal Pay Day Question

(Prostock-Studio/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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