Equal Pay Day Virtual Conference

equal payday banner

Why Equal Pay should matter to you

Thank you for your interest in the Equal Pay Day Conference. Although we will not be able to gather in person this year, we have created this virtual space to highlight some of the issues facing women in the workplace related to equal pay. We hope this will spark your curiosity about the Gender Pay Gap, and the ways we can work to eliminate unfair compensation practices.

Panelist Remarks, Q & A

Professor Angela J. Hattery, Director, Women and Gender Studies

angela hattery

Professor Angela J. Hattery

How has the pay gap has impacted you personally?

It has impacted me significantly. A few years ago, I made the mistake of looking carefully at the Faculty Senate salary report and found out that there were men of the same rank, with the same PHD, with fewer publications than me earning nearly double what I was earning. It felt like a punch in the gut. 

What impact do you think the Pay Gap will have on young women preparing to head into the workplace soon? 

The same impact it has on me! They will have a harder time paying their bills, paying off their student loans, putting a down payment on a house...and as a result, their credit scores will lag and they will be subjected to higher interest rates, etc. if not predatory lending practices. Some may feel compelled to engage in compulsory heterosexuality and marriage in order to make ends meet. They may delay child bearing longer than they had wanted to..thus gender discrimination in the workplace will control their reproductive lives. They will age, like me, with less in their retirement accounts...less to live on, and less to ease them through the transition into death. 

What advice do you have for Mason students, staff, and faculty that can help us work to close the Pay Gap?

Learn to negotiate. Demand your value. But perhaps most importantly, advocate for policies that require transparency, don't ask about prior salary, et. All those things we know lead to lower salary offers. Or, get less education, and work a minimum wage job, where, ironically, there is no wage gap.

Professor Shannon Davis, Director of Graduate Studies, Sociology and Anthropology

Shannon N Davis

Professor Shannon Davis

How has the pay gap has impacted you personally?

I honestly hadn't thought about it much over my lifetime as I had bought into the notion that people are paid what they are worth. I was also raised not to talk about money and that it was rude to ask about someone's salary or pay rate.  As I learned more about the topic I still had a hard time thinking about myself in the situation until I realized it was possible to see other people's pay and it not be a social faux pas.  And wow did I learn a lot. So more than anything once I really saw it as affecting me and not just a concept I studied in a class, I started thinking of ways I could help myself and others too.

What impact do you think the Pay Gap will have on young women preparing to head into the workplace soon?

This is about the workplace as well as the home.  Research clearly shows that in a household, individuals who have the higher salary do less of the housework and individuals with the lower salary do more.  So even if women and men are in the same jobs and living together in a household, if the man makes more money he is likely to do less housework than is his female partner.  This has implications on the mental health of women, the sense of fairness and equity women feel at home, and the level of empowerment that women feel.  And that all presumes women and men are in the same jobs rather than in sex segregated professions with their own financial hierarchies. 

What advice do you have for Mason students, staff, and faculty that can help us work to close the Pay Gap?

Take care of yourself and take care of others. Until we have a system that does not equate how much money you make with how valuable you are,  women need to advocate for their own self worth in all jobs, both paid and unpaid.  And they need to advocate for equality (equity is a good goal) in pay for women and men who are not them.  Men need to take this up as a cause as well as women because men will have both physical and mental health benefits by not tying their self worth to money as well.

Professor Jaime Lester, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Strategic Initiatives, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Jaime Lester
Associate Dean Jaime Lester

How has the pay gap has impacted you personally?

The pay gap has impacted me in several ways. First, I was surprised to find out in my first year as a faculty member that my professor spouse who has the same qualifications was making exactly 20% more than me. That is exactly the national average! Over time, that pay gap has widened as raises are often a percent of one’s salary. Five percent, for example, of a higher salary is more money. This has often made me angry because it feels as if I am financially dependent on someone else despite my high level of education.

Second, the impact can be seen on my retirement savings. Again, retirement savings is often based on a percent of salary leading to the same issues as with salary raises.

Third, workplace discrimination still exists and birth or adoption of children often leads to women needing time off. And, when people see women as parents, they think that they can’t be fully dedicated to their jobs and be moms. For men being a parent makes them more dependable as they are seen a needing a job to support a family. I wonder if I’ve ever been passed over the an opportunity because of my status as a parent.

What impact do you think the Pay Gap will have on young women preparing to head into the workplace soon?

The impact is huge if we allow it to continue. Young women will enter the workforce making less money per year which has a long term impact on their ability to purchase appreciating assets, pay off student loans, and save for retirement.

Women need to be attentive to negotiation, sponsorship, and mentorship. Educate yourselves about median salaries and negotiation techniques. Ask men, in particular, how they negotiate as they have been socialized into confident and aggressive behavior in ways that most women have not. Get a mentor and a sponsor to help though the process. And, create change in your organizations. The burden can’t just be on individual women!

What advice do you have for Mason students, staff, and faculty that can help us work to close the Pay Gap?

I think that we need to get data and show the pervasiveness of the pay gap as a first step. Correcting salaries is expensive and long term but we must start somewhere. We can also think creatively about how to support women, in particular, while pay gets corrected. For example, subsidized childcare, free tuition, and other opportunities for workplace training can lead to promotions and higher paying positions.

We also must educate others on workplace discrimination. This can be done with formal training and in individual situations by challenging others when they make discriminatory statements, especially in the hiring process.

There is lots to be done but we can all work toward change if we do it together!

What Can Men do to Help?

Professor Lauren

Salary Negotiation Workshop

Rachel Lindsey serves as the Assistant Director of Career Education for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and University Career Services. The “You deserve a raise” salary negotiation workshop was held Monday, March 30th, 2020.
University Career Services can help you further prepare for negotiating your salary. Make an appointment today.


Student Research

Payton Sinsabaugh
Payton Sinsabaugh
Honors College, Major: Global Affairs  
Expected Graduation Year: 2023
Payton Sinsabaugh is a freshman in the Honors College majoring in Global Affairs with a double minor in Arabic and Spanish. This research was conducted for her fall 2019 Honors 110 course, but her passion for this topic began many years ago. 

How Does Gender Bias and Stereotypes Affect the Popularity of Women’s Sports?