What does it mean for you to GET PAID? My guest this week, Claire Wasserman, can tell you all about what the phrase means. Claire is the founder and author of Ladies Get Paid, an organization that helps women advance professionally and get equal pay. It began as a town hall that she organized as a space for women to share their stories, and it’s evolved into a full-fledged company that runs a Slack group, which is home to over 75,000 women in all 50 states and across 120 countries. It’s also the title of her book, a guide that dispenses invaluable advice to women on how to find their freedom, power and value.
March is Women’s History Month and, all month long, Punk Rock HR will be featuring amazing female luminaries who are out there changing the world of work. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Claire to discuss equal pay for equal work and advancing the rights of working women and mothers. Listen in to our conversation to hear more.
Taking the Conversation Out of the Ladies Room
The idea for Ladies Get Paid originally came to Claire during a weeklong advertising festival where she had to endure the typical male-dominated power dynamic that many of us are all too familiar with. While the men in attendance were refusing to take her and her female colleagues seriously, she found that the women were sharing stories in one of the safest places at the festival for them to comfortably network: the ladies room.
“They were trading lipstick and business cards, and it had this incredible energy,” she recalls. Her plan was to recreate the vibe that she witnessed, allowing women more access to spaces where everybody and anybody felt welcome. Claire created a town hall event which, after becoming a huge success, evolved into multiple events across the country where Claire was able to hear from thousands of women about the barriers that they faced.
Ladies Get Paid is now composed of a vibrant and supportive group on Slack, a series of live events that are currently hosted virtually every week and an absolutely terrific book that Claire recently published.
A Rallying Cry for Equal Pay
Claire recalls a story of a female colleague who worked as a freelance art director and how she found out that a male counterpart was charging double her rate for the same type of work. In this specific case, it wasn’t because of discrimination, but a lack of transparency. To Claire, this highlighted the need for women to have a place where they can freely discuss these types of systemic issues amongst each other. Sharing knowledge is the most essential component of promoting equality.
“I want to bring together a group of women for them to talk about money. Yes, it was about sharing their rates, but really more about what money represents to them,” Claire says.
And so for Claire, the phrase “Ladies Get Paid” is meant to be a rallying cry for which money is only one aspect. “‘Paid’ could be drawing boundaries, saying no to things. It could be getting more opportunities and better jobs. It comes in so many forms.” She notes that above all else, it’s up to the individual to decide what that phrase means to them, and that her group is there to support them along the way.
Demonstrating Pro-Woman Values
The book “Ladies Get Paid” follows the lives of nine real women and the professional challenges that each of them faces. “It’s about how women can self-advocate so they can get recognized and rewarded,” Claire says. Throughout these stories, Claire provides a toolkit for women on how to affect change personally and at the company level.
Closing the wage gap and providing equal pay, as well as allowing for adequate paid family leave, are two of the many issues for women in the workplace. To keep up the fight and actualize such changes, Claire offers advice on how to make the case that addressing these issues creates value for both the employee and the business. For you to be most effective, she says, “you just need to make sure that you’re always demonstrating how it’s a benefit to them and not just to you.”
She also provides discussion on how to shake things up on a much broader scale, sharing tips on how to lobby elected officials to enact policies that are pro-women. This last part is important because, as Claire mentions, “it shouldn’t just be on us, the underpaid and over-exhausted.”
I highly recommend joining our conversation and then checking out Claire’s organization and book. Because together, we can get paid.