Equal Pay Day – What’s Good and What Needs Improvement

Piggy Bank

April 4th is Equal Pay Day. And it's making me think about my impact in the world around gender issues. And if they're positive, negative, or both.

The Good

I'm helping organize WooConf, a conference for WooCommerce developers, and we're trying to figure out how, if at all, we should compensate speakers. Some organizers don't want to compensate them at all. Some want to pay for flight, hotel, ticket, etc. And some suggest only compensating when they ask for it.

From a cost-savings perspective you'll save the most money by not giving anyone anything until they ask for it. But this can create an imbalance. People who are assertive get more than others. And if those people find out they're not going to be happy. Something like this:

I want to avoid this at all costs. And compensating people fairly falls in line with my ethos. So I set up rules that determine exactly how much you'll be compensated.

  1. If you deliver a talk we'll compensate x.
  2. If you deliver a workshop we'll compensate y.
  3. If you deliver a keynote we'll compensate z.

This removes any unconscious biases about who deserves what. There are rules and you follow them. Every thing is transparent.

What I'm Working On

Outside of events I run it feels hard to contribute. How much you're paid is nebulous. And it's usually only close friends that share that information.

And when they do I'm sometimes really surprised at how little they're paid.

When I ask them if they negotiated their salary they usually respond with a no. They assumed that number on a piece of paper is what they're worth.

And I think that's such a shame. Men tend to have such a high standard of self-worth (I'm God's gift to the world!) and women tend to have such a low standard of self-worth (I'm not perfect will you still accept me?).

And if I were to contribute anywhere this is where I'd like to help. Because asking for what you want and believing that you deserve it is powerful.


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