By Joshua Althauser
In 2017, women in the workplace are more prevalent than ever. But in 2017, there’s still a way to go before true equality is reached. Women are slowly increasing their percentages in the corporate boardroom and other trades, but incrementally. More women are graduating from college than men, but according to the Labor Department, in 2014, women with bachelor’s degrees or higher earned, on average, only 76 percent of their male peers’ salary. And it’s not just the wage gap that underscores gender inequality in the workplace—women frequently report harassment, bullying, and other unique challenges in all places where they line up next to men to work.
Several successful female entrepreneurs and bosses have shared tips on what they did to not only close the gap, but surpass it. Here are some of the biggest career mistakes women make, and how to fix them:
- Not Negotiating for a Higher Salary
According to a recent survey by Levo, over 60 percent of millennial women don’t know they’re supposed to negotiate salary offers.
Melissa Kimble, Senior Social Media Manager at Ebony, shared one of her tips on negotiating: “Know when to walk away and when to stay…the biggest mistake I’ve made is giving away my power. Anytime my true value wasn’t recognized or my energy was being depleted in situations that didn’t fulfill or honor me, I should have made the decision to walk away from those things sooner. If you’re constantly giving away your power, you’re living in a place of fear and fear destroys everything, especially your chance to succeed and build the career life you really want for yourself.”
Remember that the initial offer is just that, an initial offer. Take pride in your value and don’t be sold short. A negotiation is dictated by whoever is more willing to walk away. Be strong, have confidence in your worth, and if you find that your employer is acting irrational in regards to your demands, then walk away.
- Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Motherhood is the hardest job there is, some say, and for many working women, balancing raising children with careers creates undue stress. Struggling to keep up with all those responsibilities can injure self-esteem.
Cyndi Sax, senior vice president at Caliper, explained more: “[Some] women might not feel confident deciding where to focus their time and energy, what to let go of and what kind of help to ask for…This lack of confidence can reduce aspirations to assume a leadership position.” Sax suggests that women set goals within reach and celebrate their daily accomplishments.
“Increase your self-awareness by knowing your core skills, talents and passions and put yourself in situations where you can rely upon those strengths,” she says.
- Working Behind the Scenes
What about when it comes to working on important company initiatives with male counterparts—and not feeling like you are given the credit you deserve for the contributions you made?
Passivity must be replaced with activity. Some women believe that their work will speak for itself, but that’s not true—only you can speak for yourself. Let everyone know what you’ve been working on and what you’ve been successful in. Make yourself visible and talk to those in senior positions about your work—not only will they recognize what you’re doing, but it can also be a valuable networking moment that will be remembered come promotion time.
Josh Althauser is a tech entrepreneur and open source advocate specializing in providing mentorship for startups for their marketing technology. Connect with him on Twitter.