The year 2017 marked a very public turning point for Catt Sadler. After years of dedication to what she called a “dream job,” she walked away after learning she was being paid significantly less than a male counterpart. Though many women don’t have the privilege or security needed to sever ties with an inequitable employer, Sadler’s personal experience is still indicative of a bigger problem: women remain second to men when it comes to not only money but other non-monetary benefits that should be extended to everyone in the workplace.
Gender-based pay discrimination is technically illegal but the loopholes remain. According to PayScale’s popular Gender Pay Gap Report, women continue to make at most, 81 cents to the man’s dollar and that number is even lower for women of color. Statistically speaking, the gap only widens for women who progress to more senior positions and having a Master’s degree of PhD doesn’t make you immune either.
Beyond the numbers on your paycheck, a Pew Research Survey previously revealed that almost half of women participants experienced gender discrimination compared to just 20% of men. (And these numbers are truly just the tip of the iceberg.) Of course, pay transparency is one way we can empower ourselves and each other—though action from our male colleagues would be great, too—but Sadler recommends a simple but effective habit, too: take notes, especially when you’re immersed in a negotiation process.
“Facts tell the story. Record your wins. Keep track of your accomplishments,” says the proud mama and podcast host. “Collect the data and organize it in a way that backs up what you know to be your true value. When negotiations come up you can use this as a sort of weapon to reinforce your worth.” And while you’re at it, go beyond solidarity to make an impact for others too. Ultimately, wearing feminism like a badge means nothing if it excludes women who don’t look like you. For Sadler, the work has only just begun.
“I have learned that I have a lot to learn…. I’ve also learned that I have a lot to ‘UNLEARN.’ In the words of my friend and Naked podcast guest, Glennon Doyle, ‘Anti-racism work is like a glacier – ninety percent of it is underwater.’”
That means ensuring her education not only goes beyond optics (reading, connection with others, and more) but includes simply amplifying the voices of Black women, too. “I have used my own voice to speak up on the gender pay gap and work place inequality but women of color have it far worse than me. It is my duty to speak to that and make change for all women, not just some. I’m working on how to do more of that consistently.”
As someone who has parlayed her success as a journalist and reporter into other ventures, like her hugely popular NAKED podcast, Sadler considers building something of your own “that belongs to you and you only” to be of paramount importance for all women. “I believe that to be true even if you’re working as an employee for another company. I know there are only so many hours in the day but we are all disposable,” she adds. “So if you are able, even if it’s just a passion project or side hustle, give this a little attention every day or every week to grow something secure that can sustain you should it all fall apart. You know, like in a pandemic!”
And if nixing the 9-5 is on your mind—or if you find yourself in a situation like Sadler’s—putting your energy and talents into something that’s your’s becomes essential Plus, the building process could reveal a passion you never thought you had or had written off as a pipedream before.
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Early last year, I had a craving. As a journalist, I desired deeper, more meaningful conversations than I was having. That idea morphed into a show called NAKED that today seems to resonate with so many of you. This month marks one year since we launched these conversations from my bedroom. I am so proud of the community we have built, the hard work of my entire team, and the willingness of so many phenomenal women to get raw and strip down with us. Fifty-some episodes, every single week for the last year – plus several bonus episodes. THANK YOU FOR LISTENING. THANK YOU FOR SUBSCRIBING. THANK YOU FOR REVIEWING AND RATING. But, Mama needs a break. It’s time for the next iteration of this show. How can I take these conversations to the next level? How can I impact more lives and reach a wider audience? Whose voices should I be amplifying? What does that look like? So, in the meanwhile – please hold tight. There is certainly more to come. Let’s call it my ‘little hiatus.’ As for me, I took a listen recently to my very first ep with @oliviamunn when we took a deep dive into toxic relationships; and well, it appears I still have my own personal work and healing to do. Twelve months later. :/ So as we go dark, know that I am working on a new show and a new me – every.single.day. I LOVE YOU GUYS AND APPRECIATE YOU SO MUCH!!! 🤍🤍🤍 -@iamcattsadler
“As small businesses continue to evolve and as more and more women become entrepreneurs, I think it’s important to truly create something that is distinctly yours if you are able. Whether it’s investing in real estate, launching your own side business, writing a book, organizing and fulfilling some kind of need within your community with space to monetize, give these types of opportunities attention so that you’re never hung out to dry,” she advises. “Educate yourself. Attend virtual panels. Watch a Masterclass. There is endless information at our fingertips today and a wealth of information via the internet. Seek growth, arm yourself with knowledge, and therein lies a lot of power!”
Watch Our Instagram Live with Catt Sadler
About Nikki Brown
Nikki Brown is a bonafide Jersey girl and the Editorial Director of BlogHer. When she’s not creating content or connecting with our community, you’ll most likely find her taking way too many pictures of her cats or curled up with a book. She’s also pursuing a Master’s degree in Creative Publishing and Creative Journalism at The New School, so try to keep up by following her on Instagram @missnikkibrown.