Four ways women can help close the gender wage gap
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A disturbing trend continues to plague working women worldwide. According to the latest numbers from Universum Global, women aren’t just earning less than men, they’re also expecting a smaller salary.

A key reason is because men and women still aim for different jobs.

The problem this causes is twofold — women crowd the fields with traditionally smaller salaries, then, when they work in male-dominated industries, they have a harder time negotiating their earnings.

So, what’s the solution? Here are four tips for working women seeking higher wages.

Stand Out

It’s not easy. When I started out in the male-dominated industry of RV sales, I was told to go home and bake cookies. Instead of allowing my male colleagues to take the lead, I realized that I had an advantage — diversity. Aside from my gender, I had insight into the female consumer.

I knew what women would look for in an RV. Women account for 85 percent of all consumer purchases, so I started marketing directly to them and it paid off.

I started transforming the “houses on wheels” to luxury homes and trailers — some with designer kitchens. Now, I am creating mobile hair salons and boutiques. By showcasing my diversity and embracing it, I have been able to achieve more than I could have ever imagined. 

Become an Expert

During my first days in the RV industry, I made it my mission to “work to learn,” not “work to earn.” I paid close attention to the higher-ranking men and I adopted some of their sales tactics.

I quickly learned that the most important part of sales is to listen to your consumer; not just selling. In fact, you don’t need to sell if you listen long enough.

When I finally launched my own RV-sales company, I lowered my prices, offered better service, and opened for longer hours. I knew what the customers wanted and I was ready to beat the competition. 

Make Connections

The value of a mentor, or a strong network, cannot be understated. When you feel alone in an industry, it can be overwhelming to find success.

Starting out, I learned the ropes from an RV-sales veteran and I am thankful for what he taught me. I laughed along with some of the off-color jokes and would soak up the “man speak” when necessary.

While some may have been offended, I knew to listen, learn, and move on.

Get Over Your Fear of Failure

There is a correlation between failure and laziness. It is easy to use fear as an excuse to simply not work hard and that can be viewed as a lack of motivation.

It is also a key reason why many women are earning less — they’re simply accepting their lower wage as a reality.

We can’t be afraid to ask for a raise, take on more work, or take a leap and start our own businesses. We can’t fear being viewed as aggressive or bossy.

Identify what you’re afraid of and realize that it is holding you back. I’ve always considered myself a success born out of failure.

The measurement of success isn’t when you’re going to fail; it’s how fast you’re going to get up and start over. By 2007, I became one of the only RV dealers still standing in my market.

Today, young women may feel intimidated by an industry, or discouraged by the gender gap, but they shouldn't. With hard work, perseverance, and the willingness to learn, you’ll find true success.

You deserve it, so don’t settle for anything less.

 

Gigi Stetler is the owner of RV Sales of Broward and the author of "Unstoppable! Surviving is Just the Beginning". Her story has been featured in The Washington Times


 

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.