Know Your Worth: 6 Ways to Advocate for Higher Wages

Woman negotiating

On this Equal Pay Day, empower yourself by discovering techniques that can help you earn for the salary you deserve.

Do you know why Equal Pay Day is in March? This year, the day falls on March 14, which is 73 days into 2023.

73 days — this is how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

The wage gap is even larger for women of color. In 2023, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay Day is May 3, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is July 27, Latina’s Equal Pay Day is October 5, and Native Women’s Equal Pay Day is November 30.

Though the overall gap has narrowed slightly since Equal Pay Day’s inception in 1996, we still have a long way to go. While larger efforts, such as the work The Mom Project does, elevates women in ways that move the needle, there are smaller, more personal steps women can take to advocate for themselves.

We’re sharing six ways women can push to earn more and build a stronger financial future for themselves.

Educate Yourself 

Educating yourself is the first step. Research to understand the typical salary ranges for your industry, position, and experience level. Look online at job postings that list salaries. With pay transparency laws going into effect in several states, you can get some numbers for reference.

Better yet, talk to colleagues who work in your field. Though we’re often reticent to talk about money, doing so can open up important conversations — and uncover realizations. With knowledge comes power, and you can use this information to set a target for yourself.

Don't be the first to mention a number

If you’re interviewing, try to avoid discussing salary expectations until you’re further into the process. Sharing your salary history before knowing the job’s salary range runs the risk of coming in too high or too low, which could either take you out of the running entirely or leave money on the table. Knowing the salary range gives you a starting point. Waiting also gives you the advantage of the company getting to know you and your unique skills, making it harder for them to turn you down.

Practice negotiating

Negotiating doesn’t come easy to everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve. Negotiation is a skill, and the more you practice, the better you will get. If you’ve done your research and you know what you want, you’ve already set the foundation for a strong negotiation. Now, you’ll want to make sure you keep your confidence and know that you are worth what you’re asking. You can ask colleagues or friends to conduct mock interviews with you to help you map out your negotiation plan. This can include noting potential objections and learning how to offer counterpoints to prove you’re worth it.

The more you negotiate, the more comfortable you will be with it — setting yourself up for a future of being paid what you’re worth.

Learn how to demonstrate your skills 

Brushing up on your interview skills can go a long way in getting that target number you have in mind. As we mentioned earlier, companies will be more willing to offer more if they think you’re worth it…so show them you are. Go deeper than simply thinking about what you did while at a job — share why what you did created value for the company. Learn how to sell yourself and your unique set of skills by providing concrete examples of your wins. Employers will appreciate the effort, and you’ll appreciate the financial boost it can bring.

Ask for more reviews 

Negotiating isn’t just something that happens when you’re offered a job. It should be something that you’re practicing throughout your career, whether or not this involves one job or many. Continue to keep track of your wins and up-to-date on salary norms so you are always prepared.

Know your worth 

Above all else, know that you have much to offer and that your salary does not determine your worth. The gender pay gap is real, and it is not a reflection on those affected by it.

Working together, we can make a difference. Every step, even ones that feel small, is a step in the right direction. Each time you speak up for yourself, you are helping all women close the wage gap.

You can also check out Rosie Zilinskas' keynote from The Comeback 2023, Know Your Worth: Articulate your Worth with Massive Confidence, Conviction and Clarity on YouTube.  

Ready to try out your negotiation skills? Discover the perfect job for yourself and let your confidence shine!


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