Same work, 20% less pay: What’s up with the gender pay gap? with Kathryn Valentine

On average, American working women earn nearly 20% less than their male counterparts. The numbers are worse when you factor in race and age. This week, Kathryn Valentine answers our questions about the gender pay gap and how we can close it. She encourages us to think more broadly about compensation and outlines a range of actions that organizations, managers and individuals can take to address disparities. Listen now for an eye-opening episode.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Interview with Kathryn Valentine

Amanda Hammett: Well, good afternoon. I am so excited to have you guys here. We are talking with Kathryn Valentine about the gender pay gap, and my name is Amanda Hammett. Of course and today I am drinking a Zinfandel from the Banshee wineries, which I have it on my desk. actually, let's check it out.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Very nice!

Amanda Hammett: Alright Jeffery, welcome

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Amanda, I'm very jealous. You know, sometime we're going to have to share a bottle. Today I'm enjoying a nice, uh, Portuguese. rosé, uh, very nice for a late afternoon, kind of sunny out today. So, uh, it's my honor to introduce Kathryn Valentine. Kathryn is the founder of Worthmore Strategies, a consulting firm focused on achieving gender parody in the workplace. By empowering women to ask for what they need to be happy, productive, and successful in their careers. Her work has been featured in fast company, adweek, working mother and Forbes. Kathryn is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was a Jefferson scholar and has an MBA from Kellogg School of Management.

Amanda Hammett: Well, Kathryn, welcome to the show. Uh, what, what are you drinking today?

Kathryn Valentine: I am so excited to be here. Thank you for inviting me. Um, we're getting a cold spell right now, so I can't drink anything other than hot tea. There's some lemon in it, but I cannot warm myself up right now. So hot tea all day long for me right now.

Amanda Hammett: All right, very good.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: All right. Well, you know, March 15th, 2020 was equal payday a symbolic day that represents the number of extra days. Women on average must work to earn what men earn on average, as for mothers and women of color. This date falls much later in the year. Kathryn, let's start with a bit of history, definition, and context. I mean the equal pay act of 1963 was designed to outlaw sex based ways discrimination yet we know a gender pay gap, still exists. Talk about the history, talk about what the gender pay gap is.

Kathryn Valentine: Well, the gender pay gap is really a measure, a way to measure the disparity in median earnings between men and women in the workforce. And I think that. Yeah. We're thinking about men and women as two big groups. So systematic things that happen, you know, the, the act that you're referring to eliminate a disparities between me and a person, just like me with a similar background with similar role, but it can, I don't know how it would change what we're dealing with now, which is that women tend to get funneled into lower paying jobs. Um, also as a society, we tend to pay less for quote unquote women's work. So if we think about childcare providers who are easily the most important people in my life, right, they are, we as society, we compensate them lower than say a construction worker, which is a predominantly male field. So, what we're seeing is you have some clients, clients will come to me thinking that because they're a woman, it must be that they're being underpaid. What we see is when you compare to people in similar roles with similar backgrounds, the gap is much, much more narrow. This is much more of a broader societal thing that we're now thinking about. How do we correct? What does that mean? Um, and to your point really haven't seen it changed much in the past 15 or 20 years, despite all of the things that we have been doing. Um, and then as you said, it is, it is worse for other segments of the population. I mean, for African-Americans the equal pay day isn't until August. Um, that's how many days they have to work in, let's say into 2022 to get the same compensation that men did in 2021.

Amanda Hammett: So since you already opened this up, that was going to be my next question is, could you talk us a little bit more through, um, the gender pay gap, as it varies across race, and age maybe?

Kathryn Valentine: Absolutely. Um, so the pay gap by race is 82%. Is that pay gap on average by the genders. Um, for Asian-American women, it's actually 98%, for white women at 79% for black women on average at 64%. And for Spanic women, we're looking at 57%. Um, where we also see Amanda, as you hinted to that, that gap is different by age. Um, some people say the gap grows as you get older. I like to think actually that gap shrinks as your, for the younger generations. Um, so we're looking at, you know, for people. Ages 16 to 24 that gap is about 94%. So you know, much better than the 82. We're still not where we want to be, but better than the 82%, um, for women 55 and over that gap is closer to 75%. Um, what we are hoping is that that means that the gender gap is closing as new new generations enter the workforce. And so over time we will be able to reach that, that we want to reach. The other thing that I find fascinating is that, um, you know, some of the people that I work with say, well, if I just get promoted, like if I just focus on doing a great job. As I get promoted, this will solve itself. Um, and some really interesting work was done by two researchers, Lee and Cray. It showed that the gap actually grows by title. So if the average is 82% and the gap for director level people is 74%. And for a VP level people, it's 55%. So with some of the female CEOs that I'm working with, our executives, I'm working with they're getting paid half Um, what some men in that role traditionally would be paid. Um, and so that's another thing I always think that's just interesting to share so that we don't know if you focus just on promotion, that's important and it's a wonderful thing, but that in and of itself won't inherently solve the problem.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Kathryn, how can we close the gender pay gap? And I really want you to look at this through three different lenses. Uh, what's the role of the organization. What's the role of managers. And then what's the role of the individual?

Kathryn Valentine: That's a great question. It's the million dollar question, right? It's a great question. Um, I think the first thing I, I want to mention is that I, we, we talked about the gender pay gap because it's measurable. Um, but to a certain extent, we kind of fall to the streetlight effect where we talk about what we can measure. So the gender pay gap is important and we should talk about it. but I actually like to think of the gender compensation gap, which is that. We know let's take, for example, stock options, the gender gap and stock options, absolutely drawers. What we see when we talk about the gender pay gap. So on average, 33% more males than females receive stock options and men get on average $105,000 in stock options and women get 20 So we're looking at such an enormous gap there. Um, and I see this in my work with coaching people is we've done a really good job of talking about the gender pay gap. So now people are aware that we need to be looking at base salary, but what we're seeing is that all those things around base salary. Those gap are really big there. They're even bigger there now. Uh, equity, we see that men are getting 30% more equity, um, signing bonuses, relocation, bonuses, performance, bonuses, all of the things that are a little bit more nebulous, the gap is larger. And so to answer your original, your original question, Jeffery, I think that. You know, for individuals it's helpful to know your market value, which is a really easy thing to say, and a really hard thing to do. places that I would recommend going to our former colleagues, mentors, peers, including people that work the same role at a different company are a good resource. HR is a great resource recruiters, industry associations, career services that your Alma mater.
And of course there's some good internet sources there. And I think the second piece for individuals is to learn how to ask effectively, which I know we'll talk about in our next segment on negotiation. But what we used to see with women was that women weren't asking you had 7% of women asking versus 57% of men. What we see now is that women are asking at the same rate, we've done a great job of encouraging them to ask, but they're only effective half as often. So now what we have is kind of a learning to ask effectively is the gap. Um, Jeff, do you want me to go on and talk about managers and organizations?

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah. If you've got a couple minutes on that yet, please.

Kathryn Valentine: So for managers, um, I think, I think of it as a knowing, doing thing. And when we talk about for managers, both male and female managers, right? So, um, knowing how gender bias presents at work, knowing that societal constructs mean women are often punished for asking, knowing that this prevents women from openly discussing what they need sometimes even prevents us from thinking about it, honestly, Um, and then knowing that men tend to overestimate their value and women tend to underestimate their. So once we know that we can start to think about what to do about it and what managers choose to do about what will be very unique to them, their company, their situation. A few that I've heard that I really liked are um, worked with one manager who realized that most of the new opportunities on his team were going to men because men came in his office and asked for them. Um, and that's a gender bias, right? As women, we have been taught for decades not to go ask. And so what, um, his rule of thumb now is when someone comes and asks, he says, that's such a great opportunity. I want to announce it to the full team on Tuesday. And so by doing that, he noticed that almost overnight opportunities began going more and more to the women who were now now knew that there was an opportunity to put their hand up for it. Right. Um, another one I had. Uh, manager, Jess who came to me because the way that her company did performance evaluations was you submitted a self evaluation and in it, you rated yourself on one to five, but once she knew about the gender bias, that presented itself, she did an analysis of the 60 or so people that reported into her, into her department and she found that women were ranking themselves. On average, about a 3.5 and men were ranking themselves about a 4.6.
Um, and the way that the company culture worked, you actually, you really had to work hard to change the rating, to make it higher than what some of these submitted. So as far as overall result of her work, um, they've now eliminated that self ranking part and you just submit an open form self evaluation, right? So when we talk about managers, I think, you know, the important thing to do is to learn about the gender bias, what you do with it. Um, you were the most powerful person to come up with that solution. Right. And then for organizations, you know, if you're truly committed to equity, you're attracting salary by gender, race, age, ethnicity, um, a bunch of different things, right. And you're doing, there are companies now that are doing really great, equitable case studies come in and do that analysis for you. Um, I, I have. I have been really pleasantly surprised because I never thought I'd been doing work on women in negotiation for 10 years. I never thought a company would hire me to come teach its women to negotiate. And I have been blown away by the multinational companies that are calling and saying, oh, I want to teach my women to do this. This is how we make it fair. So I am really optimistic about the world that we're going into, and the world that we have helped create over the past couple of years. That was a very long answer to your question. Um, what, what do you, what do you think, what are your thoughts about.

Amanda Hammett: Well, Kathryn, let me step in here and just say, this has been a lot of information, but a lot of really good information. And I think that you're right. We have been hearing a lot about the gender pay gap, but there are some missing variables that people aren't quite as aware of. So I hope that the, the listeners, the leaders, the organizations that are listening to Jeffery and I, uh, on a regular basis, they're, they're taking notes here. Um, however, We have more to come with Kathryn, uh, further down the line in another interview that we'll be playing a little bit later in the year. Um, so you are going to have to wait and find out what else she has to share. So what I want to thank you guys for joining us, and I want to thank Kathryn so much for joining us and sharing her knowledge and expertise. Uh, and teaching us about the gender pay gap and the history of it. Um, and you can find more information about Kathryn and her work, and maybe you want to hire her to bring her in, to teach your women how to negotiate. Uh, and you can go to her website at Thank you so much for joining us. And we will see you in the next episode.


Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.