CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV)- Delaine Mead worked in corporate America for over a decade.
Before owning her own business Mead says she never experienced a gender pay gap in the workforce.
“I don’t believe that in 2012 an employer in this country would pay less to a woman that they do to their male counterpart,” said Mead.
“I believe that women are equally qualified if not more.”
But the gap does exit.
For women entering the workforce today, the gap is 77 cents to a dollar, according to the Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Women’s Summit.
“One of the arguments we hear is that men are supporting their families, so it makes sense that women are getting less,” said Co-Director Lisa Yarrow.
She says in order to earn more, women must be willing to ask for more.
When they don’t, it has a huge consequence for their earnings over the life of their career.
“The first thing is really to negotiate their salaries, to negotiate their benefits and to understand that even in this market men are negotiating for a salary,” recommended Yarrow.
Mead agrees women need to be more assertive but also says women lag behind men when they leave the workforce for periods of time including to have a child.
“So whether there is an elapsed amount of time of six weeks, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, or a decade that we are out of our employment, out of our career track, and in that time frame, our male counterparts continue to climb,” said Mead.
Earlier this year, the equal pay legislation was up before the Senate and the House and it did not pass.
That legislation would have given women the right to actually seek a legal and financial remedies if they experience a gender pay gap.
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