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3 ways women can help close the gender pay gap

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

International Women’s Day is Friday, March 8, and pay disparity is one of the issues facing women worldwide. One of our viewers emailed our Money Mailbag to ask:

“How can I find out if I’m being compensated less than my male colleagues at work?”

The average woman in the U.S. earns 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, according to the most recent available Census dataIf the pay gap closed, it could swell the economies of developed countries by trillions, accounting firm PwC said this week.

No. 1 — Dig around for pay data

To close that gap for themselves, women should start by doing research on sites like PayScale and Glassdoor. After they’re finished, they should ask their own colleagues at the office, including their human resources group and manager, about the pay range for the position. It can certainly feel uncomfortable, but salaries aren’t as opaque as they used to be. In fact, in one recent survey of 2,000 employers, more than half plan to increase pay transparency this year.

And just this week, a federal judge in Washington, DC, ordered the Trump administration to reinstate a policy requiring firms with more than 100 employees to report pay data based on race and gender. Of course, the Trump administration could appeal these advances, but women’s rights groups around the country consider this a victory.

People carry bags reading 'equal pay day' during a protest a day before International Women's Day, in Bern March 7, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

No. 2 — Tap female focused networks

To gather more insider information, there’s never been more momentum for female-focused career platforms like Ladies Get PaidCreate & CultivateThe Female Quotient, and female co-working spaces like the Wing, the Hivery, Luminary, and much more — where women can tap a built-in network of women with specific salary negotiation questions. These networks will get women a wider perspective of answers within minutes from mentors all over the world.

The more info female employees have gathered and can share with the women on these platforms, the better advice they’ll get on how to negotiate for a fairer paycheck.

No. 3 — Ask for more money

With all these tools and information at hand, women should set aside a time to bring this up with their manager and formulate a plan to get the same pay rate as male counterparts. Of course, women should go in expecting some push-back and have solid points of reference that include metrics on what they’ve done for the company, along research about how much employees earn in similar positions.

We’ll also be covering a lot more about What Women Want Now with equal pay right here on Yahoo Finance as kick we off International Women’s Day this Friday, March 8 — along with many of our sister brands here at Verizon Media.

Verizon Media brands come together to report on "What Women Want Now" for International Women's Day.

Jeanie Ahn is a senior reporter and producer at Yahoo Finance, covering personal finance and women in business. Follow her on Twitter @jeanie531.

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