The gender pay gap is all too real. So what can be done about it? Whether you’re male or female, pay inequity can feel like a problem that’s too big for you to affect or tackle by yourself. If you’re a man, you might even feel more helpless to change things, because the issue isn’t affecting you directly. In some respects, you’d be right. The pay gap is much bigger than just one person or company or industry. That said, here are a handful of ways in which men can help address this discriminatory issue – both within the workplace and outside of those office walls.
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Don’t Trivialize It
Be supportive. Don’t tell your female co-workers and friends that the gender pay gap is a myth, when the facts tell us otherwise. Instead, acknowledge the problem and get informed.
Read up on how the wage gap exists across a breadth of industries, all over the country and, unfortunately, is even wider for women of color. Understanding the problem, even at a basic level in the beginning, is the first step in becoming a supportive and helpful ally.
Many workplaces may discourage employees from sharing how much they earn. Understandably, it can be seen as a way to cause trouble and incite envy. However, if you’re a man who knows he’s making more money than a female co-worker with similar or greater levels of experience, you might want to consider quietly opening up to them.
You don’t have to give an exact number if that’s too uncomfortable, but encouraging others to negotiate harder with something tangible to point to can really make a difference. Approach the conversation with tact and understand that the news might not go over well at first.
This one goes above and beyond the place where you work. If you’re passionate about equal pay, act on it. Write to politicians, get involved with feminist organizations in your area – even sharing articles about the issue on social media will get more people talking and learning. The pay gap is not going to go away without more men standing up and saying it’s unacceptable, so embrace being part of the change.
Tell Us What You Think
Are you a man who cares about the pay gap? We want to hear from you about how you’re addressing this important issue! Join the conversation on Twitter, or leave a comment below the article.