Today Is Equal Pay Day—Here's Why You Deserve a Raise

In recent years, commemorative days seem to be designated with ease. During April alone, the calendar lineup includes April Fool's Day, 420, and National Unicorn Day (no joke, it was April 9). If you're starting to feel celebration fatigue, hold up. Today is Equal Pay Day—and here's why you should care. 

The terms "pay equality" and "gender pay gap" are often brandished about, but consider this: According to Forbes, today women are paid only 79% of the salary their male counterparts receive. What does that mean? If you and a male friend went to college together, received the same education, and entered the workforce at the same time, you're likely still earning a massive 21% less than he is. 

That's not all. African-American women are paid, on average, 60 cents for every dollar paid to white men. Latinas earn even less, at 55 cents. 

Keen to change those figures? Here are three ways to celebrate Equal Pay Day and ask for what you're worth. 

  1. Make your intention clear. During an interview negotiation, say, “In this job search, I'm focusing on jobs in the $80K range. Is this position in that range?” suggests Liz Ryan, the founder and CEO of Human Workplace
  2. Don't divulge your current salary. The "first person to give away a number loses," says Forbes career reporter Ashley Stahl
  3. Focus on your skill set. Pay should reflect your experience and education, not your gender. Draw attention to what you would bring to the role, and articulate that your asking salary reflects those skills.

Ready to kick-start your career and hone your negotiation skills? Shop these books for advice and inspiration, then visit Forbes to read more about Equal Pay Day