The interviewer looked straight at Amina. She had impressed him and had performed better than Tunde; the young man who had just been given an offer. He stared at her intently trying to hide his admiration while he asked: “So would you like to be paid for this job role?” Amina took a deep breath and said “2 Million per annum”. The interviewer smiled and said, “Ms, we can’t pay that amount. The maximum amount the company is looking to pay is 1.2 Million per annum”. She looked down at her shoes and stared down for a while. Looking back at the interviewer, she smiled tensely and said: “it’s fine, I’ll take it”. The interviewer nodded contently and congratulated her. What he failed to tell her was that Tunde, the man who came in before her was offered 1.8 Million for the same job role. Amina is not the only woman who would be working with the same job role, in the same company as her male counterpart but earning lower.
According to inequality.org, men make up an overwhelming majority of top earners across the U.S. economy, even though women now represent almost half of the country’s workforce. Women comprise just 27 percent of the top 10 percent, and their share of higher-income groups runs even smaller. Also, a report published by the national bureau of statistics in Nigeria states that 65.3% of senior positions are occupied by men compared to 34.7% by women between 2010-2015.
An industry that has offered an immediate solution to income gap menace is freelancing. With an opportunity to earn extra while working a 9-5, determine their income rates and even working conditions, freelancing serves a fundamental role in helping more people especially women augment their income. It is surprising however that the freelance space is also being reported to record income inequality. A study by gender pay gender gap reported female freelancers to earn 32 percent less than their male compeers. This is mainly because these platforms merely connect freelancers to the market without properly managing the end to end process.
TERAWORK, a freelance platform serious about achieving gender income equality has gone the extra mile by leveraging technology to handle the process of end to end service delivery. The company believes in equal pay for work of equal value hence has incorporated secure payment gateways, task management systems for collaboration during work and a post-work review system and a transparent structure on their platform where all freelancer’s prices are openly displayed which serves as an ideal guide for freelancers who may be confused about pricing their services.
For women to start bridging this pay gap, they need to be more confident and concrete in their pricing strategies. If a potential client is unable to respect and accept the fee, such projects should be forgone. Another way is for women to start openly discussing finances. Those who feel underpaid should connect with others in the same field to better understand an appropriate pricing structure. Women need to step out of their financial comfort zones and confidently price themselves based on the value of their work, not gender.