Women usually earn less than men, even for doing the same work.
Not surprisingly, women saw their wages take an additional hit during and especially after the recession that officially ended in June 2009.
Organizers of a conference this week at UNC Charlotte say most women need to become better negotiators, starting with the salaries they accept for their first jobs.
“Women’s failure to negotiate their very first salary results in a tremendous loss of income potential over the span of their career,” said Lisa Yarrow, director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Women’s Summit.
The organization’s daylong 2012 Women’s Summit, “Women, Wages and Work,” will bring several sessions to help women overcome disparities in wages and elsewhere.
The keynote speaker for the second biennial event will be Dee Dee Myers, the first woman and one of the youngest people ever to be White House Press Secretary, serving during the first years of the President Bill Clinton’s administration.
She is also author of the book “Why Women Should Rule the World.”
The Women’s Summit organization has studied the social, economic, political and physical well-being of women and girls in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.
Its research has focused on earnings, poverty rates and other data.
From 2007 to 2008, employment grew modestly for men and women – 3,753 and 8,586 jobs, respectively – as the recession took hold.
The greatest job losses occurred between 2008 and 2009. Women’s employment decreased by 3.4 percent; men’s 6.9 percent.
But then a shift occurred, and by the first quarter of 2010, women were losing jobs more than men. Employment for women dropped 7.9 percent, compared with 4.6 percent for men.
Men continued to fare better among new hires in the post-recession period. Jobs for men increased an estimated 9.2 percent between 2009 and 2010, but only 4.2 percent for women.
The conference will bring to light the disparities for women. The event will also present leaders to offer advice for correcting the disparities.
The art of negotiation will be an important part of the discussion.
“It’s about making sure everyone gets what they need out of the deal,” Yarrow said. “It can apply to your professional life and your personal life.”