Get that Money with Ladies Get Paid | Claire Wasserman
It's 2017 and the wage gap still exists. Let’s repeat this information - it is 2017 and the wage gap is still very real. It’s hard to believe, and for Claire Wasserman, this issue is one of many she has taken on with her business, Ladies Get Paid. This came to fruition after she hosted a town hall meeting for women to speak freely about money. She started out connecting people with jobs and collaborations, but she soon realized that she was more interested in personal development and education. “I can get you a job but if it’s not a right fit, if you don’t have the right tools to thrive, or you don’t know the questions to ask, what good was it to connect people to work?” says Wasserman.
From there, she saw the need for a free and open space for women to ask questions and support each other. She created an online forum on Slack, and invited all who attended the initial town hall meeting to join. Wasserman says of the beginning, “It was four channels at the time; an introductions channel, a salary-negotiations channel, a general advice channel, and a channel for article resources.”
Now, the Ladies Get Paid forum has grown to include over 100 helpful channels that cover everything from activism to jobs, gigs and collaborations, even a legal advice channel.
Career advice is a huge cornerstone of the Ladies Get Paid agenda, and is the reason it came into existence in the first place. When asked what questions are being asked the most, Wasserman revealed that above else, women are asking about salary negotiations. “They ask how to be assertive without coming across as aggressive, whiny, or b*tchy. What a shame to have to try and figure out that balance. There is a thing called the double bind, where it has been proven that both men and women penalize women who appear to be acting outside of the social norm. So, this question is a valid one.”
“Our members are already confident and empowered women. What they are looking for is a strategy."
In response to this, Wasserman has three key pieces of advice; “Arm yourself with evidence. You’re not pulling things out of a hat. You’re looking at what the market standard is. Look at what you have done for the company. The second thing is scripts - there are scripts out there, and I encourage those who worry about coming across as aggressive to look at them. There is a mindset shift that needs to happen. The company wants you to be your most productive self, and if you’re sitting there resentful as hell because you feel undervalued, then you’re probably going to end up quitting. Coming at this from a place of opportunity and positivity will help. Lastly, there are tactics to manage your emotions. When you’re practicing your negotiation with a friend, observe how many times you feel that lump in your throat or nausea in your stomach. You don’t need to fix it. It will get better on its own. The element of surprise when you’re having that emotion actually triggers more emotion. If you know and just observe your body, it normalizes it.”
She also added, “What I’m not seeing much is people stating that they need more confidence. A lot of what they’re saying is about getting over anxiety and fear. Our members are already confident and empowered women. What they are looking for is a strategy.”
Regardless of the increase in education and strategy women receive through Ladies Get Paid, there are those who are still wary of whether the wage gap even exists at all. Claire notes that getting people to understand the issue has proven to be a challenging one.
“You first have to break down your expectations of the other person's understanding. I go the route of evidence and statistics. You look at the cold, hard facts of how many women are not in leadership positions in every single industry," she says. "Talk to them about Hispanic women only making 54 cents to the dollar, or what’s even more compelling is the fact that black female entrepreneurs are the fastest growing entrepreneurial segment in the US. They generate $55 billion a year, but they are getting an average of 2% of VC funding at around $36,000. The are a couple of ways to talk to people honestly, and right now I’m a little statistic happy. Figure out the level of woke that the person is, and adjust your argument accordingly.”
Wasserman's passionate spirit and her determined-to-get-sh*t-done attitude has made her path a successful one. Her work has had a huge impact on many women’s lives, and though she carries it with her everyday, she never forgets her goal of closing the wage gap. “If I get obsessed with one story, it’s to the detriment of everybody’s story as a whole. I bleed for everyone," she says, adding, "I always want to have empathy but it also has to contribute to a big picture, too.”
Stay tuned as Claire and Ladies Get Paid continue to change the world, one raise at a time.
Photographer: Paulsta Wong