Today is Equal Pay Day, which symbolically marks the day in the year when the typical woman has worked long enough to catch up with what the average man made in the previous year.
On average, women are paid 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, and the gap is largest among Hispanic and Latina women, according to the American Association of University Women.
Until that gap is bridged on a national level, here’s what women can do individually to help improve their own pay situation:
1. Start discussing your salary
Although salary negotiation alone isn’t guaranteed to deliver wage parity, knowing how to broach the subject with your manager — and being able to articulate your value as an employee — is still critical.
Try these techniques from women who have successfully negotiated for higher salaries. You can also ask for perks whose value goes beyond base salary, such as more flexible hours.
2. Get inspired by female leaders in finance
One surefire way to increase your salary is to rise higher in the ranks of your company, but in some professions, women remain underrepresented at the top. In a 2016 survey of large financial services firms by the Financial Times, for example, women accounted for only around 25% of senior roles.
But you can still draw inspiration from prominent female leaders. NerdWallet recently interviewed three women in finance who overcame roadblocks to enter the upper tiers of their profession. Their stories might help motivate you to go after bigger roles, regardless of your career.
3. Seek out female mentorship
It can be challenging and intimidating to tackle issues like pay on your own. That’s why it can help to have someone as a trustworthy, go-to resource for steady advice and support — perhaps a female colleague or a friend in the same industry.
If you’re having trouble finding a mentor, you can join a dedicated mentorship organization, such as Project Mentor or Women Accelerators. The right mentor can be your sounding board and spur you to advance your career one step at a time.