Can Your Prior Salary Justify Paying You Less Than A Man?

women who ask

I hope you caught the latest installment of the Women Who Ask Interview Series with my guest Jessica Stender!  If not, I've got you covered with the replay.

Jessica, an attorney with Equal Rights Advocates, just had the win of a lifetime at the 9th Circuit. The court found that a woman’s prior salary doesn’t justify paying her less than a man for equal work.

It seems like a logical, easy thing. Equal pay for equal work. But for decades employers have been asking women (and men) what their prior salary is so that they can pay them just a little bit more.

The tide is turning. Courts, policy makers, and employers are recognizing that this practice perpetuates discrimination that women and people of color may have experienced in the past.

I talked with Jessica about what it was like to argue this case, her own personal journey to be a Woman Who Asks, and new policies that are helping close the gender pay gap.

Check out the highlights and ...


3:51 Why this recent 9th Circuit decision that says employers cannot use a woman’s prior salary to justify paying her less is so important

7:06 Why we need to talk about intersectionality when we talk about the gender pay gap

10:56 Aren’t women choosing to work and earn less by having kids?

15:00 The impact of this court case on employers

22:10 What was it like for Jessica Stender to argue this case?

23:04 Do women need to be more willing to negotiate in order to close the pay gap?

23:57 Even when women negotiate, it can backfire.

24:50 How do we handle the backlash when we negotiate?

26:54 The biggest mistake women make when applying for jobs

28:23: How to figure out how much your skills are worth in the marketplace.

29:15  Know your rights: Can you really ask your co-workers what they get paid?

34:56 Laws to prevent employers from asking what a potential employee earned in her law job are in effect in these 6 states and some cities.

39:19: The employer retraining needed

39:37: Where do we go from here to close the gender pay gap?

44:21 This pending California bill is a direct response to Trump revoking Obama’s efforts to identify pay disparities and close the gender and race pay gap.

47:00 Why we need pay transparency

47:54 Companies that have closed their gender pay gaps

49:22 Jessica Stender’s advice to women facing their own gender pay gap. Hint: it has to do with a specific type of ask.

53:31 What it means to be a Woman Who Asks