Step 2: How Do I Convince My Boss That I Deserve Better Wages?


Step 2: How Do I Convince My Boss That I Deserve Better Wages?


The next step is one that many women say they dread: asking for more money. Too many women think that if they work hard enough they’ll be treated fairly and that raises will automatically show up in their paychecks. However, from reading Getting Even, searching the sex discrimination database, and reading other women’s stories, you’ve learned it’s not true. No employer willingly pays workers any more money than they have to.

If you don’t ask for a raise, your pay will remain unequal. You have to advocate for yourself and your co-workers. With facts and reason, you can ask your boss to correct the unfairness that’s in your paycheck today.

Few, if any, bosses want to be known as unfair. Especially when they know that, beneath the label "unfair" hides the word "illegal." You never have to use that word. The threat is implied. Few bosses respond well to direct threats. When you present the facts in a reasonable way, you will have conveyed your message.


By doing research on your own wage gap with the Getting Even Calculator, you found in Step 1 a difference between what you are paid and what’s being paid to a man doing similar work. Using our tool to analyze institutional discrimination, you may have revealed that women workers experience these inequities throughout your company. With our Sex Discrimination Case Data Base and Consent Decree memos, you found out that other women in other companies have experienced similar forms of discrimination and that some of them have prevailed when they took their cases to court. And you learned about some strategies that employers have instituted to eliminate discrimination in their workforces.

With this knowledge, you’re almost ready to negotiate with your boss. Before you meet with your boss, prepare what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.

Learn the skills of persuasion and negotiation. Use this list of negotiation resources to obtain books and articles in your library or bookstore or on the internet.

In addition to reviewing or learning negotiation skills, you should outline your presentation to your boss about why current pay or other company practices are unfair to you as a woman and how these inequities are negatively affecting you. You should also determine the specific requests that you will make of your boss.

  • What salary would be fair and equitable? What company policies should be changed or instituted?
  • What benefits and resources are not being equitably distributed to women workers and how could this distribution be altered?
  • How could other discriminatory practices be remedied?

The more specific your requests and recommendations are the better.

Practice your presentation, anticipate your employer’s questions, and plan your responses.

Download the Getting Even Discussion Guide for other ideas of how to prepare to ask you boss to close the wage gap where you work.


Find other women at work who believe that they, too, are not being paid equitably or treated fairly. Start a WAGE Club or work together less formally to identify discriminatory practices and policies at work. Exchange information about earnings. Work together to obtain company-wide information such as the list of job titles, entry-level wages, numbers of women and men in each job title, and sexual harassment and parental leave policies. Work together to develop recommendations for how the wage gap can be closed at the company and how women employees can be treated more fairly overall.

It will be more powerful and advantageous if you and your co-workers can meet jointly with your boss to present the inequities that you and your colleagues face and your recommendations for change. There is strength in numbers, especially when you seek to show your employer that discrimination is systematic and institution-wide.

Go Right To The Top

You and your co-workers should take your research and documentation of unfair pay right to the top boss. Discuss the issues and ask to be paid fairly. Listen carefully to how your boss responds, especially to what changes you can expect and when. After your meeting, you and your co-workers should meet to reconstruct and write down the details of the conversation.

Follow Up

Once you get even, you must remain vigilant. You must insist on being treated and paid fairly, for the rest of the months and years that you work. You must monitor the implementation of new policies and practices that have been instituted as a result of your and your co-workers demands for equality.

Steps to Get Even | Step 1: How to Research

Step 2: How to Convince Boss | Step 3: What To Do If Boss Won't Act


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