TIME Iceland

Iceland Is Running a Gender-Equality Conference Without Any Women

Iceland's Foreign Minister Sveinsson addresses the 68th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York
Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, minister for foreign affairs of Iceland, addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York Sept. 30, 2013. Adrees Latif—Reuters

The "Barbershop" conference aims to encourage men to talk about gender equality among themselves

Iceland is organizing a gender-equality conference that won’t have any female attendees.

In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Monday, Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson said the “Barbershop” conference aims to bring together a group of men discussing gender equality among themselves, focusing particularly on violence against women.

“For our part, we want to bring men and boys to the table on gender equality in a positive way,” he said, describing the first-of-its-kind conference as an “exceptional contribution to the Beijing+20 and #HeforShe campaigns.”

The event will take place in January and will be co-hosted by the South American nation of Suriname, according to Sveinsson.

TIME Dating

Men of All Ages Want Women in Their Mid-20s, Study Says

Couple holding hands while riding bicycles
Cavan Images—Getty Images

Whereas women tend to prefer men of the same age or slightly older

Straight men of all ages tend to have their romantic sights set on women in their mid-twenties, while women prefer men who are about the same age as they are, according to a new study.

The survey out Friday, financed by the government-backed research funding group Academy of Finland, gathered data on 12,000 Finns and found that women, on average, are looking for partners who are about their age or slightly older. But men across the age spectrum have a sexual preference for women in their mid-20s. This remains true for men of all ages—men in their early-20s or younger are attracted to women older than themselves and older men are attracted to younger women.

The findings are similar to data culled from the dating website OKCupid, which found that male users of the site of all ages, by far, are looking for women in their early-20s.

TIME women

I Wrote an Article About Marriage, and All Anyone Noticed Is That I’m Fat

Galit Breen Wedding
Courtesy of Galit Breen

When I wrote my article, I included wedding photos that I had never shared online before, because of the way my body looked in them

xojane

This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

My husband and I celebrated our 12th anniversary this June. We’ve had a good run despite my over-thinking and his over-scheduling, so I did what we writers do: I wrote a neat and tidy article titled “12 Secrets Happily Married Women Know.”

I was feeling especially comfortable in my skin at the time. I’ve been running and lifting and eating (mostly) well, and I’m healthy. The warmth of summer — the rays that hit me in slices throughout the day, the constant comfort of my family around me, the looseness that comes with a lack of a schedule — all wore me down, softened my edges, sent me out of my comfort zone and for one teeny tiny moment, I set aside my deeply ingrained defense mechanisms.

I had met a friend for lunch the week before. She faced me across fresh shrimp and cold beer and we talked about our children and our writing, the threads that hold us together. “I never see candid photos of you,” she mused. The hair on my arms, my shoulders, and the back of my neck stood on end. “I’m not judging,” she added, “But I noticed that you like to have control over that.”

She was absolutely right in the non-annoying way that only heart-deep friends can be.

I do like to have control over photos that are taken — and shown — of me. I’m a selfie re-taker, a Facebook un-tagger, a strategic chin-hand-child placer, and I’m (almost) always the person behind the camera, rather than the one in front of it. When you’re fat, and you don’t want to be, you memorize these tricks of the trade.

So yes, my friend was right. I am normally so very careful about the photos I share, not necessarily for privacy, but definitely for vanity.

But this summer, I was softened. And when I wrote my article, I included wedding photos that I had never shared online before.

I used to hide them because of the way parts of my body looked in them. My chin (double), my waist (wide), my arms (thick). But I included them because, without my armor, I could see what had always been there — my husband and I look so happy in them. Joyful, really, and truly in love. And that’s what my article was about, so I embedded the photos, sent my article into my editor, and really and truly didn’t think about them again.

In the body image wars that women, that I, have with ourselves — this was a win.

When my article got some traction, I decided to take a peek at the comments it was getting. This is a cardinal rule never-ever meant to be broken. But I was curious and I (quite naively) thought, Bring it. I could take whatever commenters could possibly dish about my thoughts on marriage. And this is still true. What I couldn’t take, however, is what commenters — people, human beings — said about my body.

Here are a few screen shots I captured that day, or one of the days after that I went back and looked again (and again).

I peered at comments like these through splayed fingers, counted how many “Likes” these got as opposed to how many readers told these people to stop being like “that” — whatever “that” might be. Cruel, unnecessary, fat-focused. Behind the safety of my screen, I was keeping score — for my article or against my body. Because these are the two camps that the commenters joined.

I couldn’t stop looking. “Cut it out,” my husband said, shaking his head, desperate to help. But what could he possibly do or say to soften this, or to soften me again?

I kept going back to check on it — like a tended fire that I needed to know if it would be smothered or fanned.

On good days, I started dialogue about internet comments, misogyny, and body image. On better days I began writing this article. But on hard days, which was most of them, I cried.

I cried for the words flashing through my mind — Fat. Ugly. Heifer. — and I cried for the way that I averted my eyes whenever I passed a mirror. I cried trying to figure out what my husband thought reading, seeing, feeling those words and how they would make him read, see, and feel about me. I cried for my daughters seeing those words said about their mom or ever hearing them, or even worse thinking them, about themselves.

And I cried for the desire that I had to show photos of myself today — Look! I’m “better” now! Not perfect, but not as fat as that! My self worth suddenly became entrenched in those words. I was tethered. I was also perpetuating the exact same thing those commenters were — fat is bad, body commenting is normal, and valid. I cried a lot about that.

Our society’s incessant focus on women’s bodies and the way we deem it necessary and appropriate to comment on them is, at best, misguided, and at worst, damaging.

There are very few times that I think it’s okay to comment on a woman’s body — in a complimentary or in a negative way. As a mother and as a woman, I think we all need to stop that conversation, to consider it taboo.

People say that the way we’re spoken to becomes our self-talk. In my experience this is very true. And as much as we’re loved, it’s incredibly difficult to undo this.

I can’t tell you how body talk makes every woman feel, but I can tell you that staying away from body compliments and body bashing, body noticing and body commentary leaves room for the kinds of words that we want the women — and the girls — in our lives to hear, to repeat, to have written to them by the typewriters in their own minds. And that, can’t hurt.

Galit Breen is a Minnesota writer. She has had essays published in several magazines and anthologies, co-directs the Listen to Your Mother Show in the Twin Cities, and writes for allParenting, Everyday Family, Mamalode Magazine, and The Huffington Post blogs.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME

John Oliver Gave a Big Boost to Women’s Scholarship Funds

Late Night with Seth Meyers - Season 1
Comedian John Oliver during an interview on June 11, 2014. NBC—NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The Society of Women's Engineers calls the bump in funding the "John Oliver bounce"

A scathing segment Sunday from Last Week Tonight host John Oliver brought a welcomed boost in scholarship funds to one Chicago-based women’s organization, the group said this week.

During Oliver’s 15-minute takedown of the Miss America pageant, which claims to be the “world’s largest provider in scholarships for women,” the host mentioned the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) along with other organizations that provide women-only higher-education scholarships for women. An SWE spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday it has received about 15% of its expected annual donations in two days thanks to the HBO host’s plug.

The SWE has provided about $3 million worth of scholarships to women pursuing careers in engineering over the past six years, the Tribune reports. The $25,000 the organization has received this week is said to be going to the group’s scholarship fund.

A spokesperson for the organization dubbed the bump in donations they received after Oliver’s nod the “John Oliver bounce,” a riff on fellow late-night host Stephen Colbert’s “Colbert bump.”

[Chicago Tribune]

TIME feminism

Sorry, Privileged White Ladies, but Emma Watson Isn’t a ‘Game Changer’ for Feminism

UN Women's "HeForShe" VIP After Party
Actress Emma Watson attends the UN Women's "HeForShe" VIP After Party at The Peninsula Hotel on September 20, 2014 in New York City. Jim Spellman—WireImage/Getty Images

How will the men who support He For She actually stand in solidarity with women?

xojane

This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

When I woke up yesterday, my Facebook feed was buzzing with the news of Emma Watson’s “groundbreaking speech.” On September 20, Watson used an emotionally stirring speech at the United Nations to launch He For She, a new campaign that urges men to “speak out about the inequalities faced by women and girls.” People who never mention the words “feminism” or “women’s rights” were suddenly interested.

More specifically, the campaign centers around a website where men and boys can acknowledge that gender equality is a human rights issue and pledge to fight the inequality that women and girls face. On the “Take Action” page, the site encourages users to tweet and Instagram with the hashtag #HeForShe. Beyond that, there is little discussion of what the men who sign this pledge can actually do to improve the lives of women.

“I am so excited about #HeForShe,” one random girl from my sorority wrote, “because it finally shows that feminism isn’t about hating men. I love men!” “Emma Watson gives feminism new life,” read one CNN headline. Another blog noted that she completely changed the definition of feminism while dressed in Dior. Media outlets that had only previously used the word “feminist” to describe hairy-legged stereotypes were now salivating over a newer, hipper, prettier feminism based entirely on an 11-minute speech at the United Nations.

Most egregiously, Vanity Fair called Watson’s speech a “game changer” for feminism: “Watson is potentially in an even better position than many of her peers,” writes Joanna Robinson. “Her role as Hermione Granger, the universally adored heroine of the Harry Potter series, gives her an automatic in with male and female millenials. This is a rare case where an actor being conflated with their role might be a good thing. In this way, her widespread influence on young minds (still forming their opinions on gender roles and advocacy) is even stronger than other high-profile defenders of the F-word like Beyoncé.”

Despite the slight toward Beyonce’s feminist work, I thought for a moment that Robinson and others who were anointing Emma Watson as feminism’s brightest young mind might have actually been right. There is something uniquely brave about a young woman identifying as a feminist, especially when so many others, like Watson’s contemporaries Shailene Woodley and Taylor Swift, shy away from the label.

But at the same time, when I hear this speech being discussed as a defining moment in feminism, I worry about the message that the He For She campaign sends to people who still aren’t sure that feminism is looking out for their best interests. More specifically, will He For She leave behind many of the people who most need feminsm’s help?

To begin with, the name “He For She” is problematic, no matter how you slice it. Some may call these criticisms divisive and nitpicky, but there is nothing feminist about a campaign that reinforces a gender binary that is harmful to people whose gender identities don’t fit into such tidy boxes. When we reinforce the idea that only people who neatly fit the gender binary are worthy of being protected and supported, we erase and exclude the people who are at most risk of patriarchal violence and oppression.

Which is something that Emma Watson knows only a little bit about. It was encouraging that Watson acknowledged some of the privilege that led her to that United Nations stage, but she failed to mention the things that are most important. She noted that her parents and teachers didn’t expect less of her than male students, but failed to mention how the automatic advantages that being white, wealthy, able-bodied, and cisgender have colored her life experience. The state of affairs for women that Watson presents in this speech is a best case scenario. There was no discussion in this speech as to how He For She can improve the lives of women and nonbinary people who will experience intersectional oppressions, like racism, transphobia, and fatphobia.

This is not to suggest that what Emma Watson did wasn’t brave. Women face consequences when they speak up on feminism, as evidenced by the internet trolls who threatened to release nude photos of Watson shortly after her speech (luckily this turned out to be a hoax). Anyone who uses their platform to spread feminist ideas deserves respect, but we should probably be a little more careful in who we choose as our thought leaders. Especially when there are hundreds of women who are directly impacting the lives of women through their work and writing.

In reality, Emma Watson is the kind of woman that mainstream feminism — the feminism that gets a place on the United Nations’ stage — has worked the hardest for. When Watson speaks of equal pay, she’s talking about the white women who make 78% of their white male counterparts, not the 46% gap that Latina women face in the workplace. When we discuss sex work, we don’t talk about the transgender women who rely on the industry to survive. Put simply, the discussion that He For She and Emma Watson are having fails to invite the people whose voices need to be heard most to the table.

Of course, the most crucial component of the speech is Watson’s call to action for men that support equality. “Unintentional feminists,” she calls them. These, of course, are men who have been “turned off” by their own assumptions about what feminists are. Men are an important component of breaking down barriers for women, but after years of begging from feminists of all ideological backgrounds, they shouldn’t need a verbal engraved invitation from an actress to get involved. More importantly, there is little discussion of how the men who support He For She will actually stand in solidarity with women.

Many men who consider themselves vocal advocates for feminism have also had a real problem with talking over the women they’re supposed to be supporting. The space of male allies in feminism is a tenuous one, and one that is only successful when male allies use their platforms and privilege to amplify the voices of women, trans men, and nonbinary people. Instead of “He For She,” perhaps the campaign should have been branded “Stand With Women,” to imply that men would be standing beside women instead of standing up for them. Women don’t need to be rescued, whether it’s by men, Emma Watson, or the United Nations. Positioning men as the saviors of oppressed women isn’t productive, and devalues the work that feminists have been doing for decades.

Paying lip service to feminist ideas without actually doing any work to undo oppression isn’t feminist, and it certainly isn’t new. Every few months, it seems as if the media identifies an actress as the new young feminist darling, and Emma Watson is only the latest in the procession. Emma Watson may be making feminism more palatable for people who aren’t comfortable with in-your-face confrontations from less camera-friendly feminists, but she isn’t doing anything new or groundbreaking.

And it’s unfortunate that Emma Watson is selling the same boring, one-dimensional feminism that’s existed since the first hypothetical bra was burned instead of really changing it. She doesn’t deserve to have her privacy and body threatened by terrible internet trolls, but she also probably hasn’t earned her place as a defining feminist of her generation. If Emma Watson really wanted to be a “game changer,” she should have handed the microphone to Laverne Cox or Janet Mock to add some desperately needed diversity to the U.S.’s contingent of U.N. Goodwill Ambassadors.

Amy McCarthy is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME women

Making Abortions Illegal Doesn’t Make Them Go Away

Abortion Pill Expected To Be Available in Australia Within Year
The abortion drug Mifepristone, also known as RU486, is pictured in an abortion clinic February 17, 2006 in Auckland, New Zealand. Phil Walter—Getty Images

Quinn Cummings is a writer of three books, Notes From the Underwire, The Year of Learning Dangerously and Pet Sounds.

Forget Roe v. Wade. The pro-life lobby won the next battle while no one was looking

Imagine this:

You are a parent. Your 16-year-old daughter comes to you. She’s pregnant. You assure her you will support her in whatever decision she makes. She takes a few days to think and comes back to you. She’s not ready for a child; can you take her to a clinic?

The nearest clinic is 75 miles away and the laws of your state require women seeking abortions to first receive counseling and wait 24 hours before returning for the procedure. A first-trimester abortion costs between $300 and $600 on average. You work as an aide at an assisted-living center, and your daughter doesn’t have health insurance. You and your husband share one car. You aren’t in a position to take time off or stay overnight in a motel on top of paying for the abortion.

Jennifer Whalen doesn’t have to imagine this situation; this is her story, as told to Emily Bazelon of the New York Times. Whalen’s initial reaction was to call a local women’s center on her daughter’s behalf but she was told no one there could help. With no options in her community, and hamstrung by a “wait law” specifically legislated to inconvenience women seeking an abortion, Jennifer and her daughter searched online and found a site with misoprostol and mifepristone—medications she had never heard of before—available for $45.

“I read all the information,” Whalen told the Times. “They said these pills would help give a miscarriage, and they were the same ones a doctor would give you.” She had no idea that buying them without a prescription was illegal.

Jennifer’s daughter took the pills as instructed. She began to feel stomach pains, so Jennifer took her to the ER. Because she wanted her daughter to get the best medical care, she told the doctor about the pills. Not long after, Jennifer awoke to a knock at the door; the police officers had a search warrant and found the empty misoprostol and mifepristone boxes.

Rebecca Warren, the Montour County district attorney, charged Whalen with a felony and three misdemeanors in Dec. 2013. In order to be able to work again once she got out of jail (she’d have lost her job at the assisted-living facility had she pleaded guilty to the misdemeanors), she pleaded guilty to the felony and was sentenced to nine-to-18 months in jail. She has just begun serving her sentence. Her youngest child is 11.

Abortion is legal, in theory. In practice, 87% of counties in the United States don’t have a single abortion provider, as of 2012. For those people for whom the fetus is a viable human being whose needs outweigh every other person in the equation, this is a victory. Jennifer, her husband and her three children might disagree. They might also note that these laws disproportionately punish the working class, people for whom “family planning” is more than just a catchphrase. If you can’t afford a night at Motel 6 and two days off work, how exactly are you going to manage the costs associated with an extra child?

Making abortions illegal doesn’t make them go away, and a decade of insidious legislative maneuvering isn’t going to change that. Since there has been an understanding of what pregnancy means on a biological level, human beings have been coming up with methods to end some of these pregnancies and most of these methods are risky, some life-threatening. But when someone is desperate, risk looks different. A stranger telling you to lie on a kitchen table, or drink this bottle of turpentine, or a friend whispering to you to just insert this wire and ––

How far we’ve come.

Quinn Cummings is a writer of three books, Notes From the Underwire, The Year of Learning Dangerously and Pet Sounds. Her articles have been published in, among others, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, TIME, The Huffington Post and Good Housekeeping. She is a passionate animal lover, an indifferent housekeeper and would eat her own hand if you put salsa on it.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 24

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Because of America’s unique relationship with Liberia, we have an obligation to help fight the Ebola outbreak there.

By James Ciment in Slate

2. Medical research often doesn’t account for different ethnicities, and underrepresented groups suffer.

By Estaban G. Burchard in Nature

3. One way to head off sexual violence in professional sports: start with high school coaches.

By Libby Nelson in Vox

4. Beyond the sharing economy: Is “reputation” the next important currency?

By Heather Schlegel on CNN

5. Powerful protests over climate change target corporations – and new leadership is needed to restore faith in capitalism.

By Judith Samuelson in the Huffington Post

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Congress

Gillibrand’s Harasser Revealed as Late Hawaii Senator

Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, is interviewed in his U.S. Capitol office on July 26, 2012.
Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, is interviewed in his U.S. Capitol office on July 26, 2012. Chris Maddaloni—CQ-Roll Call

Report indicates it was Daniel Inouye

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) made waves in her recent book when she revealed that one of her “favorite” older U.S. senators once told her not to “lose too much weight now” after having her second child because “I like my girls chubby.”

Gillibrand told TIME two weeks ago that she wouldn’t name which senator had said this to her. “It’s less important who they are than what they said,” she said, adding she that hoped relaying the story would make women feel more comfortable when similar things happened to them. But The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reports that that the Senator in question was the late Daniel Inouye, the legendary Hawaii Democrat and World War II veteran who passed away in 2012. The Times also points out that Inouye had a dark chapter in his history: In 1992 his hairdresser accused him of forcing her to have sex with him.

Gillibrand’s office declined to comment on the report.

TIME White House

Joe Biden’s Gaffe-Ridden Week

Vice President Joe Biden Gaffes
Vice-President Joe Biden looks on during a bilateral meeting between President Obama and President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Sept. 18, 2014. Olivier Douliery—Corbis

Joe Biden, known for his verbal gaffes, has had a tough week

Speaking at the Democratic Women’s Leadership Forum, Vice President Joe Biden on Friday praised former Sen. Bob Packwood, who resigned in 1995 after 19 women accused him of sexual harassment and assault.

Err, awkward!

“It was Republicans that expanded access to the polls. It was Republicans in the judiciary committee that did motor voter,” Biden said in arguing that the GOP has moved to the political fringe. “It’s Republicans that were involved. Guys like Mack Mathias and [Bob] Packwood and many others. It wasn’t Democrats alone.”

Biden’s remarks capped a rough week. On Wednesday, he called lenders of bad loans to people serving in the military “Shylocks,” a derogatory name for Jews, earning him a rebuke form the Anti-Defamation League. Also, this week, Biden referred to the First Prime Minister of Singapore as “the Wisest Man in the Orient,” an antiquated word deemed offensive by many Asians. And at an event in Iowa, Biden seemed to leave the door open for ground troops in Iraq to fight the militant group ISIS, a day after President Barack Obama specifically rejected such an option.

Of course, Biden has long history of gaffes, but as Vice President he’s generally reined in his verbosity.

But five in a week is a lot, even for him. Perhaps impending lame-duckdom is loosening his tongue.

MONEY salary

5 Ways Women Can Close the Pay Gap for Themselves

woman standing at bottom of steps with man standing above her
iStock

New Census data found that women earn 78¢ to every $1 men do. These moves can help you get closer to even on your own paycheck.

If you have two X chromosomes and a job, the latest numbers on the wage gap will likely leave you feeling frustrated: Women make only 78¢ for every dollar a man makes, the Census just reported, marking all of a 1¢ improvement over 2012.

Meanwhile, Republican senators blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act this week, which called for greater salary transparency and would have required employers to be able to prove that wage differences were based on factors other than gender.

Overcoming the barriers to equal pay isn’t proving to be easy. And there are some factors we can’t move the needle on as individuals. For example, childbearing counts against us, in what economists have dubbed the “motherhood penalty.” We pay both a per-child wage penalty and also may be dunned for working fewer hours because of our caregiving responsibility. And then there’s straight-up discrimination, which is very hard to prove despite being so palpable to many of us at certain moments in our careers. (Perhaps this explains why one study found that 41% of the pay gap is unexplained!)

Closing the gap a penny at a time is still progress. But for those of you who don’t want to—or can’t—wait around until 2058 to see equal pay, here are five strategies to at least get you closer to even with your XY counterparts.

1. Negotiate smarter…

Working women have heard it all before: We’re not aggressive enough in asking for higher pay; we are bad at negotiating. But if do negotiate aggressively, well, that gets held against us.

But we’ve got to find a way to make it work for us if we want to get paid a fair wage.

So what can we do? Hannah Riley Bowles, a senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School who has done research on what makes women successful in negotiations, has found that being collaborative—using “we” and trying to take the perspective of the company and hiring manager—tends to be more effective than other approaches.

She also emphasizes authenticity, so try to come up with language that feels comfortable and natural for you to use.

2. …and from the outset.

A 2011 study by Catalyst tracked 3,300 high-performing students in M.B.A. programs as they began their careers, and found that while 47% of women and 52% of men had countered the initial offer made for their current job, only 31% of women vs. 50% of men had countered the offer for the first job they had out of grad school.

While it’s good that women are catching on to the importance of negotiating, we need to encourage them to do it sooner.

“Failing to negotiate your salary from the start is not only an initial mistake; it is one that will continue to follow you and will be compounded over the years, disadvantaging you throughout the remainder of your career. Every raise you get, every bonus you receive and even the number of stock options you are awarded, will be smaller because these amounts are normally determined as a percentage of your artificially low base salary,” wrote Lee Miller, author of A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating on six-figure job-search site TheLadders.

Say you started out $5,000 behind your male peer, making $40,000 vs. his $45,000. If you each got 3% raises for each of the next five years, you’d be making $46,371 vs. his $52,167, expanding the difference to $5,798 and you’d have given up $26,546 in income differential in those years.

The longer this goes on, the harder it is to catch up.

3. Push for promotions early on.

According to Payscale, “women’s pay growth stops outpacing men’s at around age 30, which is when college-educated women typically start having children.” Furthermore, women’s pay peaks at age 39 at $60,000, vs. $95,000 at age 48 for men.

That suggests that a smart move would be to try to move up the ladder before you decide to raise a family.

“How women negotiate their career paths is arguably a more important determinant of lifetime earnings than negotiating a little extra money,” Hannah Riley Bowles told The New York Times recently.

4. Work in a fairer field.

Part of the problem, according to Sarah Jane Glynn, associate director for women’s economic policy at the Center for American Progress, is that a large proportion of women are clustered in a relatively few fields: 44% are in 20 occupations. And typically within those professions, the majority of workers are women. As Glynn has written,

“Female-dominated industries pay lower wages than male-dominated industries requiring similar skill levels, and the effect is stronger in jobs that require higher levels of education.”

So just try for a higher-paying male-dominated field, right? That can help. Harvard labor economist Claudia Goldin found that, for college grads, moving into such a profession would eliminate an average 30% to 35% of the wage gap.

But that’s not always a home run. Goldin found that female aircraft pilots and financial advisors earn less on the dollar compared to male peers than the average worker, at 71% and 73% respectively.

Goldin did find that the pay gap is much smaller than the average in certain fields—including ad sales, dental hygiene, HR, chemistry, pharmacy, and computer programming. But she pegs the slim difference to the fact that these fields allow a specific kind of flexibility that allows one worker to easily sub out for another, if, say, someone has to stay home with a sick kid.

5. Toot your own horn.

That Catalyst study of M.B.A. grads found that, of those women who said they made their achievements known to others in the organization, 30% had greater compensation growth than peers who did not promote themselves.

Some of the qualities found in these folks: “ensuring their manager was aware of their accomplishments, seeking feedback and credit as
appropriate, and asking for a promotion when they felt it was deserved.”

Sounds easy enough on paper, but in real life, this kind of self-promotion isn’t always easy for women.

To make it more palatable, Laura Donovan of Levo League suggests being selective about the moments you do this (e.g. yes to scoring the $1 million client, no to pushing through the report that’s expected of you), choosing the right audience for your message (don’t blast the full staff), and focusing on facts rather than self-congratulation (“I just wanted you to know that we’ve signed the contract with Client Y, for $1 million over two years….”).

Also, focus on the upside: The Catalyst study suggested that self-promotion can help you gain sponsorship from important allies who can help you further advance in your career, and hopefully get you closer to closing the pay gap.

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