Influencer With A Voice: Ladies Get Paid's, Claire Wasserman
Influencer With A Voice:
Ladies Get Paid:
Interview With Claire Wasserman
After watching the movie, "Battle of The Sexes," I was impressed with Billy Jean King's stance on having women be paid the same as men in tennis. She was number one in the world at the time, and she took a risk in demanding that she and other women players deserved equal pay with men. She left the USTA league and created her own league, The Virginia Slims, which resulted in her elimination from the number one spot. It took a few decades to resolve the payment issue, but now, men and women's tennis players are paid the same.
Claire's website illustrates that there is still the need for much to happen for men and women to be paid the same throughout the workforce. Claire left a full-time job to devote herself to this cause. We are delighted that she contributes to our feature, Influencer With A Cause. A perusal of the feature will show you why she is an ongoing part of this magazine.
Foreword by Alison Hernon, Fashion Director, Jejune Magazine
1. Name: Claire Wasserman
2. Title: Founder & CEO of Ladies Get Paid
3. Please tell us what is Ladies Get Paid?
It's an organization to educate and help women to advance in their careers, and close the gender wage gap.
4. How did you get this started? What inspired you?
I hosted an event to talk to women about what money means to them in a town hall style meeting. Various women came forward and shared experiences. I realized from this meeting, that we need to teach for women to advocate for themselves. "Do you feel like you have power?" Also I used Slack, an online channel where women could ask for and give each other advice.
5. When did the company start?
6. Please tell us about your Co-founder: Ashley Louise. Where did you meet?
Ashley Louise is head of business development; I needed someone to help grow the business. We met while volunteering for this cause.
7. Are your roles different?
Claire is head of content and Ashley helps develop the business structure and secures partnerships.
8. What do you think of the wage gap between men vs. women?
"Far too long."
The estimated time frame for the gap to be fixed is 216 years, and there is literally no excuse for it. This affects everyones wages. Other cause is lack of parental leave, it all falls on the mother, it's not just about sexism.
9. How do you feel we can bridge the gap?
We teach women on an individual level, how to advocate for themselves. Real change won't happen unless companies do things like pay audits, have adequate family leave, and institute mentorship programs. The biggest way to change things however, is through civic engagement and public policy.
10. Why do you think “female jobs” makes less money?
We will value more "tangible skills" like engineering vs. jobs that require emotion such as nursing.
11. Please tell us about your work shops? How do you source your speakers?
The work shops are programs for other women, and career coaches that are in our network.
12. I love all of your Webinars, do you have any success stories that you would like to share? Ladies Get Paid has many testimonials, please check out at the end of this interview for their actual success and inspiration.
13. Why do you feel women are still not getting ahead and few are making it into big positions? What’s holding women back?
Structural Issues such as: Maternity Leave, Health Insurance, and Child Care. It's not necessarily about women speaking up but about current corporate policy. It's also based upon my statistics and research, men don't always support women in a company culture.
14. Do you feel that women support each other in the workforce?
The general narrative is that women don't support each other, but there is a lot more support than people think. Post election, there is even more support.
15. Do you feel the gap is even wider for women of color?
Its proven. 55 cents to the dollar, Hispanic, 78 cents to the dollar, and White, 63 cents to the dollar for black women.
16. I have a few female friends (both Asian) lately who have been passed over for jobs by white men. Do you have any words of advice for women in this situation who are feeling frustrated and hurt?
Don't be afraid to ask why and how you could do better, be specific and get information on how to improve, make sure you have an updated CV, proper interview skills done before you blame the system, look at yourself first.
17. Did you see the movie about Billie Jean King, “Battle Of The Sexes?” It took decades but tennis is equal pay for men and women. It’s an amazing fight and story. Is this what women have to do, make sacrifices with their own career to get what they deserve?
Here are two ways for women to get what they deserve:
1. Figure out how to operate within the system 2. Create your own system.
Key question: how can you get the pay check but still work within the system: small acts of resistance, this theory will have you shine.
18. Have you seen any improvements the past few years with woman getting paid the same?
It's actually gotten worse, World Economic Form- 170 years before but now 216 years estimated to close the gap.
19. When is your next event, please tell.
Please check out our calendar, it's updated daily: http://www.ladiesgetpaid.com/calendar/
22. I love your Instagram page, where do you get all this great artwork?
I found them on other people's instagrams and have given them credit.
23. Any words of wisdom for women entering the workspace world?
Seek out other woman who have gone before you. Ask others, it is not a weakness to seek help.
24. How about for women who feel stuck in their current positions?
Ask yourself, are you actually not growing or do you feel like you are working in the wrong industry? Make sure you are challenged, working somewhere with values that align with yours, and have a side project that could inspire you.
25. Instagram and Website Information
1. I also want to thank you for creating this organization. You've helped provide the tools to empower me to know my worth and ask for a raise (which I got in January!).
2. It was great meeting you and hearing about your journey. Just wanted to send a quick note about how I'm loving the LGP community! I put out a job posting today and within minutes have gotten many great applications - there are some uber talented women in the group and I'm so happy to be connected with everyone.
By the way, recently I attended a couple of webinars and went to an event in Portland. I am so grateful Ladies Get Paid exists and feel like I have already learned so much in just a short amount of time. My confidence in myself and the work I do has increased, I am able to share what I learn to support the women I work alongside, and my outlook on how I can grow my career and be a leader is totally different.
3. I love the Ladies Get Paid slack and the whole community! It really inspires me to become more of a boss when it comes to advocating at work. My supervisor recently told me that I'm the strongest advocate for myself on the team (important to note that we've been a team of all men and myself up until this past Monday).
4. I'm just so grateful for the work you're doing. For the first time I feel like I have the tools and the confidence to find a great next job, and to say no to opportunities that aren't right for me or my career.
5. Hi, Aliza from the DC team here! I wanted to shoot you both a note about something unrelated to the DC committee though. Earlier this week, I posted a consulting/job opportunity on the LGP slack group, and the responses that I received were AMAZING. I had 6-7 women reach out to me in less than 2 days, and at least half seem like they could be a strong fit -- either for this role, or one in the near future. I was also impressed because I actually received responses from a diverse pool of candidates.
All is to say, is this something you've ever thought about monetizing? As I'm sure you know, hiring is SO HARD. The network that you've built of qualified, passionate, and motivated ladies is an incredible asset. And I could imagine that there are many more companies and organizations who are committed to equity and inclusion, but are struggling with hiring.
6. I really have a special place in my heart for Ladies Get Paid. It has been the gateway of discovery for so many other positive and helpful resources and the facilitator for my meeting many really awesome woman. I
7. Hi Claire,
I hope this finds you well!
I just wanted to tell you a success story of how Ladies Get Paid helped me. I know you’re a badass boss lady hustling left and right and I wanted to let you know that the work you do has had a huge impact on my life recently. Thank you so much for all that you do and all that you have built to help women like me!
I recently had a performance review and wanted to ask for a raise (the first time since I started the job). I took my friend out for drinks to ask for advice because I was really scared to have this conversation. She told me about ladies get paid and she role played with me for two hours, telling me tips she had learned from the webinars/trainings, until I had a great pitch prepared and could say it in the most confident way possible (read: without tearing up or having a panic attack).
I made my pitch to my boss and she offered me a really cheap increase- of $3,000 more a year and said with that increase, that I would become an exempt employee, losing my overtime protections. I told her that salary offer was below the minimum salary threshold for becoming an exempt employee in NY. She told me no no it’s fine, the laws have changed, there are no minimums.
I went home, watched the ladies get paid webinar on how to negotiate your salary and made another case for myself on why I should get a higher merit based raise than what they offered. I also started researching NY labor laws to show them that the salary offered was below the legal threshold to lose overtime protections. I posted about my situation in the LGP slack group and connected with a lawyer who practices labor rights law. She sent me a ton of articles and DOL memos that validated that my analysis of the law.
My boss got back to me and said based on the case I made for myself for a merit based raise, I could get a little bit more of an increase. I presented her the DOL memos and articles that the lawyer had sent me and showed my boss where in the law it stated that the salary offer was out of compliance with DOL regulations. She showed them to the executive director, the legal director, the finance director and a week later they all got back “with their tails between their legs” saying that I was right, that they were not aware of the new changes in the regulations and that the salary they offered me was below the threshold. They offered me a higher number, the salary I originally asked for, while keeping my overtime protections for an additional $2,000-$3,000. I accepted and then pointed out that they were also out of regulation with two other women’s salaries.
So- this has been a long stressful process to first deconstruct my inferiority complex, make a strong case for myself for a merit based raise, and then to raise the issue of compliance with DOL regulations- and Ladies Get Paid has been with me every step of the way. In the short time since I started this process- I’ve gone from being scared shitless to even think about asking for a raise (read: literally tearing up at the thought of having my performance review) to being able to fearlessly advocate for myself and others in front of the most powerful people in my company. The platforms and tools you have built have made a huge difference to me, to the two other women in my company who will benefit from this process, and to all the other women I will share this knowledge with.
Just wanted to say keep doing you- we really appreciate it!