March 14, 2024

More Than a Day: Reflections on Equal Pay and Building a More Equitable Future

More Than a Day: Reflections on Equal Pay and Building a More Equitable Future

Earlier this week, we hosted an Equal Pay Day discussion and resource fair raising awareness and spotlighting local organizations committed to gender equity. Our panel was moderated by Libby Ediger, CEO of Atlas School, and featured Megan Radford, our Lead General Education Instructor, Sahee Abdelmomin, Virtual Health Associate at Tulsa Innovation Labs, and Valarie Nierenberg, Board Secretary for OK Women in Technology.

These local trailblazers explored their personal experiences and perspectives, and provided guidance on how to break through professional barriers as a woman. You can watch a replay of the discussion on our YouTube channel.

The Impact of Unconscious Bias

While it’s easy to highlight overt examples of bias, unconscious bias can be just as impactful without the same recognition. Sahee Abdelmomin made the important distinction that this type of bias is oftentimes without intent or much thought. It can be as subtle as not pronouncing a name properly, or judging someone because of their appearance. While those actions are seldom malicious with their intent, the impact is just as meaningful.

Valerie Nierenberg provided the important insight that this can carry over to which behaviors are favored in the workplace. She reflected on experiencing a bias against women who display ‘masculine traits’, such as assertiveness or direct communication. While those may be considered positive traits in a negotiation or general corporate conversations, they are commonly looked down upon in women.

Our panelists agree, being intentional in raising awareness is one of the key components of effectively combating this type of bias. Actively addressing concerns when they arise, and speaking out in scenarios of mistreatment can create more welcoming workplaces everywhere.

Tips When Asking for a Raise

Affirm Yourself With Words

Your salary expectations will only be as strong as your belief in yourself! Avoid words that undermine your talent or expectations, and strongly communicate your desire for the salary or benefits you’re asking for.

Engaging Body Language

It’s okay to not feel comfortable in an interview, but how you express it is even more important. Try to establish eye contact and eliminate distractions, such as unnecessary fidgeting or movement.

Focus on Value, Not Purpose

Many women feel the need to justify why they are asking for a certain salary or benefit. While this may feel necessary, this type of internal framing can be detrimental to your confidence. Remember, you are providing value to a company with your skills and expertise. Make sure their offerings fit your needs just as much as your skillset meets their needs.

Explore Community Partners

Our resource fair included key resources from organizations supporting and providing resources to women across Tulsa. You can review more information about their work below.

Oklahoma Women in Technology - A non-profit organization of professionals in the technology industry, with a determination to bridge the gap between genders in STEM fields.

Family and Children’s Services - Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic serving adults, children, and families in metro Tulsa. Since 1921, their dedicated staff has restored children’s wellbeing, healed hurting and abused children, strengthened families and provided hope and a path to recovery for those dealing with serious mental illness and addiction.

Take Control Initiative - Ensures individuals have the resources and information to decide if and when they want to become pregnant in an effort to honor and support their autonomy and safety. Works to remove barriers and increase access to birth control in Tulsa County.

League of Women’s Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa - Work is focused in two key areas — advancing health equity for the Tulsa community and providing services and support for immigrants and refugees. On a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, freedom, dignity and justice for all.

YWCA - A non-partisan organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

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