The Pay Gap Disparity: Know your worth

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - According to the National Organization for Women, women make on average 80 cents to the dollar paid to white men.

It's a fight continuing more than a half century after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963.

The pay disparity is still a hot topic today.

In December, E! News host Catt Sadler said she was leaving the network because of a "massive disparity in pay" between herself and a male co-host.

A top editor at the BBC, Britain's Public Broadcaster, resigned from her job in Beijing over pay disparities with her male colleagues.

"The unfairness of it is undeniable," said human resources expert Chris Edmonds. 

Edmonds is the CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group.  World Kitchen in Corning is one of his clients.

"For the most part salaries are seen as rather secretive so we don't want to tell everyone that everyone is getting paid but the problem comes in when that pay gap is so significant," Edmonds said.  

For example, there was outrage over "All The Money in the World" and all the money, star Mark Wahlberg reportedly made compared to co-star Michelle Williams.

USA Today reports Wahlberg earned $1.5 million for re-shooting scenes in the movie, while Williams earned less than $1,000 in per diem fees for her retakes.

"To some extent, companies are trying to get talented people for the least money that they can invest," according to Edmonds.

The Wrap reports the pay disparity was due in part to their individual contracts that negotiated by the same agents.

Williams and Wahlberg is a high profile example of a reality women face daily.
 
"I think there's a variety of social and cultural factors that feed into that," Stephanie Thomas tells 18 News.  Thomas is a lecturer in the Department of Economics at Cornell University. 

"When women negotiate, they're just as successful as their male counter parts but they're only one third as likely to engage in those negotiations," she said.

"Men are more likely to be seen as assertive and confident, women have to be careful because often times when we engage in the same activities to the same ends, it's interpreted or perceived differently by co-workers."

Thomas tells 18 News she wished she negotiated in the past.

"It's interesting because I was hired at the same time as a male counter part - same education, experience, etc.," Thomas said.  "He ended up $10,000 more than me because he asked for it."  

Edmonds' tips on how to know your worth is to "find out as best you can what the ranges are in your area and then you go say I'm $20,000 below or you can go in and say I'm $5,000 high or whatever, but you got to have reliable data." 

"They would've given it to me if I would have asked but the offer that they made based on the information that I had about the labor market and my skills and abilities, it seemed to me like a reasonable offer so I didn't negotiate," Thomas said.

A word of advice before you reach a new contract agreement.


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