31% of Women Feel They're Not Paid Enough. Here's How to Get the Wage You're Worth

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KEY POINTS

  • Women have historically earned less than their male counterparts.
  • If you're unhappy with your wages, now's a great time to be your own advocate.


You shouldn't hesitate to fight for higher pay.

Two years ago, when the U.S. economy was in a serious slump and unemployment levels were sky-high on a national level, wage dissatisfaction was something a lot of people had no choice but to deal with, at least for the time being. But these days, it's a very different story.

Not only is the labor market loaded with jobs, but many companies have actually grown desperate to hire. That means now's a great time to advocate for higher wages if you're unhappy with the amount of money you're earning.

And many women fall into the latter category. A good 31%, in fact, feel they aren't paid enough money, as per a recent Bank of America survey.

Given that female wages have long lagged behind male wages, that's understandable. The gender pay gap is still very much alive and well, and that keeps putting many women at a big financial disadvantage.

If you're not satisfied with the wages your employer is paying you, it's important to speak up for yourself. But you'll want to approach that conversation with care. Here are a few steps you can take to snag more equitable pay.

1. Know what you're worth

There's plenty of salary data available online that can help you compare your earnings to those of your peers -- male or otherwise. Spend some time doing some research to see how well your wages stack up based on your specific line of work, job title, and geographic location (keeping in mind that wages tend to be higher across the board in large cities compared to smaller ones).

2. Talk up your wins

Did you lead a successful new hire training program last month? What about the newsletter that was on the verge of missing a recent deadline until you stepped in to save the day? These are the sort of on-the-job wins you'll want to play up when you sit down with your manager to talk salary. Doing so may seem like you're being boastful, but try not to think about it that way. Instead, remind yourself that you're a valuable member of your team -- and that you deserve to be paid like one.

3. Don't be afraid to pick up and leave

The job market has plenty of openings these days, so if your employer refuses to budge on salary, don't be scared to go elsewhere. Switching companies is often an effective way to land a solid raise, and you may find that a company that's willing to pay you more will also offer better employee benefits on a whole.

What could a higher salary do for you?

Many women struggle to build savings -- retirement or otherwise -- due to being underpaid. A higher salary could be your ticket to padding your emergency fund, boosting your IRA, and meeting whatever other financial goals you have in mind. And so you shouldn't hesitate to fight for a wage you deserve -- especially in today's market, where workers in many understaffed industries have a clear upper hand.

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