Gender Pay Gap: 18 tips to declare war on the 18 percent

The year is 2023 and women still earn an average of 18 percent less than men. In addition to structural measures, everyone can do something themselves: together and with the help of these 18 tips, we are actively fighting against the gender pay gap.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, the gender pay gap between women and men is currently 18 percent. On average, women earn 20.05 euros gross per hour, which is 4.31 euros less than men – for the same work.

The pay gap is created for a variety of reasons, many of which are societal, but what can an individual woman do about it? We talked to experts about it and got tips that will enable us to act.

1. “Beware of automatisms!”

“Just because we women carry and give birth to the children does not automatically mean that we take the 3 years of parental leave and then work part-time, but the fathers continue to work full-time. Such automatic roles are based on the earlier disenfranchisement of women. You lead to losses of more than 60 percent in lifetime income for mothers!

Anyone who, as a mother, takes care to share the care work with the father equally, has more leisure to take care of his professional development and thus also to an appropriate income.”

Dani Parthum, economist and financial coach

2. “Know your worth!”

“Become aware of your worth and remind your superiors of this from time to time! Unfortunately, women often find it more difficult to put themselves in the limelight than men. Negotiating salaries, however, can be practiced. Just ask the men around you how they do it start a conversation and how they sell themselves. A lot of women would be amazed at the self-confidence with which they do it. And then role-play it and practice it.”

Andrea Berning, BRIGITTE-Editor

3. “Talk about salary”

“A lot is talked about prices, but salaries are still a big secret in Germany. As difficult as it is for us: You should talk openly with colleagues about the salary. This is the only way to make comparisons and find out what you are up to and act accordingly in salary negotiations.”

Vivien Windel, BRIGITTE editor

4. “How will the company benefit from me in the future?”

“It is not the past that is decisive for a salary increase, but the future. The basic question in the salary appraisal is therefore: How will the company benefit from me in the future? The best time for a salary appraisal is therefore always when tasks change – and of course the annual employee :internal conversation. Tip: Talk about a salary adjustment (instead of a salary increase).”

Anja Henningsmeyer, negotiation trainer

5. “Know your pension gap!”

“Study your pension information and calculate your pension gap. Only when you know what amount you will be missing later can you take targeted countermeasures.”

Claudia Müller, Female Finance Forum

6. “Know your costs!”

“Check your current contracts for savings potential. Mobile phone contract, electricity provider, streaming subscriptions … a lot can come together. With a budget book you can track down unnecessary expenses and have more money left over to save and invest.”

Claudia Müller, Female Finance Forum

7. “Educate yourself!”

“Educate yourself further – be it through further training at work or in the weekend course, which has been appealing to you for a long time. Educational leave can also be a good option.”

Claudia Müller, Female Finance Forum

8. “Say no to sprawling part-time!”

“Almost 70 percent of working women work part-time, often until the children are grown up or even until retirement. This long part-time work with sometimes only a few hours per week is most common in Germany. Unfortunately, part-time work also means part-time pension. So add up hours if necessary possible and feasible.”

Helma Sick, finance expert for women

9. “Let’s talk about money, honey!”

“You should talk openly with your partner about how the child-raising periods and the resulting financial cuts are distributed fairly. This is how the personal pay gap can be closed.”

Lisa Hassenzahl, Certified Financial Planner

10. “Examine Your Beliefs”

“Examine your beliefs about money and self-worth. The best knowledge is useless if you (unconsciously) stand in your own way!”

Claudia Müller, Female Finance Forum

11. “Conclude partnership agreement”

“The following points could be included in a partnership agreement: Do we want children? If so, who will stay at home and for how long? Is it possible to split parental leave in half? If not, how will the loss of pension for the parent caring for them be compensated for? What is the domestic division of labor?

And it must be recorded how much maintenance is paid and for how long if the relationship breaks down if you have interrupted your professional activity because of the children. Discussing and clarifying such issues at the beginning of a relationship helps to stabilize the relationship.”

Helma Sick, finance expert for women

12. “Invest your savings in the stock market”

“Even those who earn less shouldn’t neglect wealth accumulation. The savings shouldn’t be lying around, but invested in the stock market. With broad risk diversification, stocks offer long-term returns of six to eight percent per year. Nobody should do without that.

You don’t have to have a degree to invest in the stock market, you just need patience. The best and easiest way is to invest – even with very small sums – with a monthly savings plan in an equity fund or an equity ETF. And: Never put everything on one card, but diversify the system widely.”

Jessica Schwarzer, stock market expert

13. “Care work split 50/50”

“Since my son was born 18 years ago, I’ve been working part-time and doing most of the care work. I live a parenthood that has never been able to completely break away from the dictate that children belong to the mother.

In my circle of acquaintances, too, I experience this almost without exception (I only see that care work is shared 50:50 with separated parents who live the alternating model). We have to disempower these norms because they are unfair for everyone involved and a financial disaster for women.”

Susan Arndt, BRIGITTE editor

14. “Say no to mini-jobs!”

“If you do a mini-job on a 450-euro basis for 15 years, you’ll earn a monthly pension of around 70 euros. That’s pocket money and has nothing to do with reasonable security in old age.

Mini-jobs should therefore only be available for students or pensioners. For women, they are and will remain a dead end. And the mini-payment into the statutory pension doesn’t change anything.”

Helma Sick, finance expert for women

15. “Automate your money transactions and transfers”

“Money transactions and transfers should run automatically. The standing order for your nest egg, which you should save up every month (in order to leave your boss or partner behind if necessary), for your custody account and thus for your financial independence is very important. As a result, you automatically pay yourself first and don’t have to think about whether you can or want to afford it every time.”

Claudia Müller, Female Finance Forum

16. “Join a women’s network!”

“Individually we are strong, together we are unbeatable!”

Claudia Müller, Female Finance Forum

17. “Be careful when choosing a career!”

“‘Classic’ women’s jobs are paid less than men’s jobs, which cements the gender pay gap throughout the entire career. Anyone who still has a career choice ahead of them should therefore definitely be open to male-dominated sectors.”

Claudia Muenster, Deputy BRIGITTE Editor-in-Chief

18. “Reject False Arguments”

“He earns more, so she stays at home and takes care of the children and the household free of charge? Anyone who thinks and acts like this not only solidifies the gender pay gap, but also the dependence of the lower earner and thus the power imbalance in the relationship. Occupations are of equal value among couples.

It is not the level of income that decides how parents share childcare and family management, but a negotiation process between personal wishes and needs, career development opportunities and the vision as a couple of how to live together on an equal footing.”

Daniel Parthum, Economist and financial coach

If you want to learn to take care of your own finances, you can apply for the BRIGITTE Academy Master Class Finance register. Together with a group of like-minded women, you will learn how to master your finances and build up long-term wealth. You don’t need any previous knowledge for this – try it out!

International Women’s Day info box

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