Biz Basics

By Kim Cartlidge  June 30, 2010

Closing the Gender Wage Gap

Women comprise just over half of the workforce today, and yet they still earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. The figure is even lower for African-American and Hispanic women. That translates to $1.2 million in potential wages or more lost over a lifetime. 

Annie Houle, The Wage Project’s national director of campus and community Initiatives in Brookline, Mass., is on a mission to change that. Houle visited Sarasota-Manatee in April to deliver the project’s Smart Start workshop to USF Sarasota-Manatee juniors and seniors. “Women really need to understand that there is a wage gap and how it affects them,” says Houle. “Oftentimes, women become the breadwinners, so we want to give them the tools and the resources to ask for fair salaries.”

In Florida, the typical woman working full time is paid $32,506 a year, compared to a similar man, who is paid $40,672—an $8,166-a-year wage gap, according to National Partnership for Women and Families data. That translates to 72 more weeks of food bills, five more months of mortgage and utility payments or 1.8 more years of family health insurance premiums.

The Wage Project (, in partnership with, offers an essential tool for any job or raise seeker—a free salary calculator ( that provides actual wage ranges paid in a state or city. The calculator, which is based on tax records, takes into account job title, responsibilities, education level and experience. Users can enter more detail and purchase individualized reports about specific jobs.



FOUR Tips for Negotiating a Fair Salary

Research and understand the impact of market realities on salaries. Read up on the organization, its competition, the community and the market. “You need to be able to justify the salary that you’re asking for,” Houle says.

Benchmark your budget. Create a bare-bones budget for yourself and then learn what it will cost to live in a particular area. “Build a budget and then get on, which will calculate the take-home pay for that market,” Houle says.

Think of the negotiation as a discussion, not a confrontation. Armed with your knowledge of a fair salary range and market conditions, you can ask intelligent and pointed questions to get a better sense of the job and strengthen your case. Don’t put your figure out there, says Houle, or discuss salary before an offer has been made.

Practice negotiating through role play exercises. Talk about who you are and how you’re going to contribute from day one,” Houle says. “Make yourself invaluable.”

Useful Web sites

The Wage Project

salary calculator:

The National Committee

on Pay Equity:

To calculate take-home pay:

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