Yes We Can

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If you’re a working woman in Florida, there’s good news and bad news for you. 

The good news is that Florida ranks ninth in the nation for pay equality, with women here making 83 percent of what their male counterparts do on average – six percent higher than the 77 percent national average.

The bad news is that we received a D grade for family-friendly workplace laws. That means workplaces in Florida are less likely to offer paid maternity leave, flexible sick days and time off for parenting responsibilities. Luckily, today more than ever women are stepping up to close this gap.

The Problem: Pay

When we think of women’s equality in the workplace, pay is the first issue that comes to mind. Women make 76 cents for every dollar that men make.

What We Can Do:
Start early and be firm. Upon hiring, women often shy away from bold salary negotiations. Furthermore, as our careers progress, we may not feel comfortable asking for a raise, even if we deserve one. When it comes to money, just remember that no harm can come from asking. If the salary you make doesn’t mirror the one you’ve earned, speak up!

The Problem: Health Care

Women are less likely to have employer-provided health insurance than male workers, and their average earning from pensions is about 50 percent lower.

What We Can Do:
Ask about non-monetary benefits, including sick leave, health insurance and pensions, before you take the job. Ensure that you understand what the company offers and their long-term benefits. Most importantly, remember that benefits, just like money, are negotiable.

The Problem: Support for Working Mothers

We really lag behind in support for working mothers. Fifty-three percent of working mothers say they are unable to take time
off when necessary to care for their children, and 49 percent cannot alter their hours at work to accommodate their children’s needs.

What We Can Do:
Ask for help. If your boss isn’t too keen about you missing work to care for the kids, ask your husband, family or friends for support. Have Mom pick up the kids from aftercare a few times a week, and alternate sick days with your hubby.

The Problem: Flexibility

This points to something just as troubling, but rarely as discussed as much as the pay gap between men and women: a flexibility gap. Among full-time workers, women are less likely than men to report flexibility in their schedules at work – this despite the fact that 70 percent of women say the responsibility for taking time off from work to attend to children’s needs falls on them, as opposed to only 30 percent of men.

What We Can Do:
Speak up! There’s no reason to hold these concerns inside. Come up with a plan that accommodates both your needs and your responsibilities, and ask for feedback from your boss. Make it clear that you won’t be skimping on work and that a little flexibility would greatly reduce your stress and increase your performance.

For all working moms, let’s speak up and stand together until there is equality for all!

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