Laurie Swanson Blog

How to Close the Wage Gap: The 10 Percent Mission - Part I

I have been listening to the BBC on Sirius radio a lot lately.

This started because I am a coach for a program called INCubator (more about this program below). Think Shark Tank for high school students.

The students are part of a year-long class where they are put into teams and come up with a problem, a product or service to solve the problem and then follow steps on how to build a business to bring their product or service to market.
In the end they “pitch” their product idea to the “sharks” (local people who contributed financially to the program) hoping to get funding to begin production on their idea.

The team I was assigned to wants to solve the problem of biased news. They want to provide a website and a newsletter geared towards teenagers that creates an open discussion forum and gives unbiased reports on what is happening in the news.

When they were exploring how to build the content on their website they found lists of the news sources considered to be the most unbiased. The BBC was at or near the top in all of them.

FUN FACT: One way to become less biased is to not use adjectives when describing/reporting things

Which got me to start listening.

And it humbled and changed me in the process.

The thing that hits closest to home is the ongoing fight for equality for women going on around the globe much of which I take for granted here in the US.

Following the Torch Bearers

I have been given so much. Women in America are seen as a beacon of what is possible for other women around the world.

We give hope.

And yet…we still earn 80.5 cents to the $1, we are underrepresented in business and in politics and attitudes of bias abound. More information on the gender wage gap.

Read about the subtle ways of bias in one of my previous blogs here.

No! They didn’t?

I know and knew that there was still work to be done.

The problem I was having was that I was not sure what I could or wanted to do.

Sounds selfish and small-minded when I write that but the truth was that I did not have a fire in my belly about anything special.

Until I was out to dinner with a group of women the other night.

One of the women told a story about her female colleague who had just quit. She quit because her employer, a large global financial services firm, was hiring in a man who had far less experience in the same role for $30,000 more.

And they could not see a way to adjust her salary to the market value.

I was aghast.

My fire was lit!

Time to play the 10% game!

I realized that there are still trails to be blazed and I have an opportunity to be a part of the next wave.

I will use my experience as a recruiter and someone who is not afraid to ask for what she wants to empower women to stand up, speak up and claim their worth. Claim the title, the promotion, the salary they deserve.

Mission: Close the wage gap by getting every woman a minimum 10% increase on their base salary whenever they are up for review, their salary is out of line with the market, when they are changing jobs AND if someone with less experience is hired in for more money. Salary inequities must stop.

Are you ready to play the 10% game?

Try This:

  • Ask for 10% more than you were planning to at your next review.
  • Don’t take the first offer-negotiate for 10% more money.
  • Tip that female server 10% more than you normally would.
  • Find ways to use 10% more female vendors at home and work
Let me know your 10% Ideas HERE.

Time to be a part of the 10% revolution!

Next week's blog: Apply the 10% rule to career fulfillment. 

Learn more about INCubator.
Are you inspired to up your game 10%? It starts with YOU. And I can help. Email me at and let’s talk.   

About Charles Bukowski 

His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambiance of his home city of Los Angeles.  His work addresses the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over 60 books. The FBI kept a file on him as a result of his column, Notes of a Dirty Old Man, in the LA underground newspaper Open City

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