Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Storyboard18 - 'Don't empower me. Pay me'

Cindy Gallop's tips for women on getting the pay they deserve. And tips for business leaders and bosses on giving women the pay they deserve

Published: Mar 8, 2022 07:37:08 PM IST
Updated: Mar 8, 2022 07:53:14 PM IST

Image: ShutterstockImage: Shutterstock

I’m a big fan of radical simplicity. I like to keep things very, very simple. And I’m happy to say that the solutions to ensuring gender-equal pay are very simple.

I was asked to provide some tips for women on getting the pay they deserve. But I think it’s important to provide some tips for their bosses as well. So here are three tips for business leaders, and three tips for women.

Leaders: first of all, language matters. Today, on International Women’s Day, and on every other day, don’t use words for women like ‘empower’ and ‘celebrate’.

Instead, use words like ‘hire’, ‘promote’, ‘pay’, ‘raise’, ‘bonus’, ‘fund’, ‘invest in’, ‘enrich’, ‘give equity’. And don’t just say it, DO it.

Secondly, it’s very easy to pay women fairly and to achieve gender-equal pay within your own organization. Simply immediately raise every female employee’s salary to the same level as that of the men doing the same job.

Don’t want to do that? No worries, there’s another option to achieve gender-equal pay. Simply lower every man’s salary to the same level as the women doing the same job. That’ll be far and away the biggest and most efficient cost-cutting exercise you’ve ever conducted.

Ladies: three simple tips for you.

First of all, I want you to unashamedly and unembarrassedly, set out to make the largest amount of money you possibly can. It’s incredibly important that you do that – not just for yourself, but for all of us. Because when each of us makes the largest amount of money we possibly can, we can then use that money to fund other women; help other women; support other women; donate to other women. We need to build our own financial ecosystem, because the male one isn’t working for us.

Secondly, for this reason, you must negotiate at every job offer salary discussion, every performance and pay review, to make the largest amount of money you possibly can. Again, you need to do this not just for yourself, but for all of us. If you don’t do this, when the male leaders at the top of the company review that giant spreadsheet with the salaries of everybody in the company, and when they see (as they will) that all the women are paid less than the men, that translates in their minds to “That’s because the women are less good than the men.” You owe it to all of us never to let that happen, by ensuring that the number next to your name on that spreadsheet is a really, really big one.

Thirdly and finally: the amount you ask for is always the highest amount you can say out loud without actually bursting out laughing. People value you at the value you are seen to put on yourself. Demand your optimum value, and remember – it’s a negotiation. You want to start that negotiation as high as you possibly can. I’ve been giving women this advice for decades, and literally every week women write to me and tell me how well it worked.

Now go out there and get the largest amount of money you possibly can!

And by the way – Storyboard18 paid me to write this. OBVIOUSLY.

Cindy Gallop is the Founder & CEO, MakeLoveNotPorn. Views expressed are personal.