Yes, We Mind the Wage Gap

Gen Z wants to shrink the wage gap by… talking.

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It’s 2022 and you can ask a woman her age but you still can’t ask how much she makes. Most of us would prefer to talk about anything other than money. We’ll choose marital trouble, mental health, addiction, sex, race, religion, and politics before we’ll wade into salary talk. 

Why does this matter? Silence around money — encouraged by the wealthy since the Golden Age — feeds a wage gap of between 60 to 89 cents on the dollar

The Wage Gap isn’t news. We’ve lived with it for as long as women have worked. We know, for example, that racialized women bear the brunt of the inequality, earning an average of 59.3% of the average white male salary. But even school girls experience a gendered wage disparity. According to the Girl Guides of Canada, young women 12-18 earn almost $3 less per hour than boys at summer jobs. 

Not only does this make us want to talk about money… it makes us want to scream.

If present trends continue, according to the World Economic Forum, it will take the world about 267.6 years to reach wage parity.

Hannah Williams wants to move that date up a few hundred years. The 25-year-old TikToker recently took to the streets to ask her fellow Washingtonians two simple questions: What do you do? And how much do you make? The series (@salarytransparentstreet) has gone viral. Williams hopes her project will break down the social stigma around money talk, and move us toward addressing pay inequality. 

Will it work? It’s working! Williams’ project is part of a growing movement focused on real change. New data shows that about 40 percent of Millennials and Gen Z talk to coworkers about what they earn. Compare this to 19 percent for Baby Boomers.

This spring, New York passed a law requiring employers to disclose salaries on all advertised jobs. And even companies who aren’t forced into transparency would be smart to consider it. The job posting site Indeed Canada recently revealed that posts that include salaries attract 90 percent more applicants. 

That’s something worth talking about.