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Testifying On Behalf of Women For Equal Pay

October 30, 2018

Inspiration and wisdom for women voting, females in business, businesswomen, women entrepreneurs

One week from today, women will be at the ballot boxes casting their votes for representatives to support our outlooks and pleas for equality on all fronts – especially pay equality. It is a subject near and dear to my heart. If you are just finding out about this passion of mine, find out why I implore you to read this entire blog post and part of my testimony to advocate for closing the gender pay gap.

On July 13, 2017, I faced a long skirted table for the New York State Labor Commissioner and 9 others to listen to Syracuse community members state their case for why the government should pass a pay equality law to benefit women. With photographers in the corners and a small table in front of the long table for each person testifying, I walked up with my pink glasses in my hand, comments on index cards and sat down at the small table. I sat down and said into the microphone, “I am putting on my pink glasses because this is how I see women’s equality or inequality. As I testify, I want you to hear me as well as see me in these pink framed glasses to understand my passion in the gender pay gap issue.”

I began….

“Thank you to State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon for inviting me to testify on the Gender Pay Gap in New York State. This has been a subject near and dear to my heart for 22 years.

My name is Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham, the Founder and President of Women TIES, LLC, which stands for Women Together Inspiring Entrepreneurial Success, founded on March 3, 2005, during women’s history month. For the past 12 years, Women TIES has specialized in promoting, publicizing and uniting New York State women entrepreneurs and their companies online and in person in order to cultivate strong economic relationships to advance their companies, and help eradicate pay inequality. Yes, you heard it right “help eradicate pay inequality” is literally part of my company’s mission statement.

Ever since becoming a woman entrepreneur 22 years ago with my first company I have surrounded myself with other women business owners and know this niche very well, so well I have received many awards including “Women in Business Champion” awards from the USA Syracuse Business District – one in 2005 and another in 2011. I do not tell you this to boost but to have you understand my deep and unwavering commitment to help women entrepreneurs succeed.

In fact, my personal mission statement for 22 years has been to help women become more financially successful by encouraging them to put their money in the hands, pocket books and bank accounts of other women first and foremost to increase their individual revenue and assist this generation of women and the ones to follow to have a more financially successful future.

The main reason behind my unique “feministic” approach to business lies in the pay inequality issue that has plagued women for centuries and continues today. Women do not earn the same as men in Corporate America or for Woman Owned Companies and the government has not done enough to equal the playing field for women by passing an equal pay bill to ensure women, who make up 52% of our population, receive fair salaries compared to men.

Women similar to me choose entrepreneurship as a career for five main reasons based on many articles I have read on this subject online. You can look and read for yourself. I brought each of you copies of a couple articles.

According to the readings, my own experience and speaking with thousands of women entrepreneurs the past two decades, women become entrepreneurs because they

1. Want to be challenged
2. Desire independence
3. Want a flexible work schedule
4. Yearn to Balance work and life duties
5. AND Expectation for higher earnings

Women may find success in the first 4 reasons but not in the fifth one of higher earnings because:

1. Women set their expectations and salaries against the benchmark of salaried women which are earning less than men.

2. We lack confidence when we look at historical data perspectives on the financial success of women.

3. Women tend to negotiate themselves down in contract pricing.

4. There is pronounced gender segregation in types of businesses men and women start.

5. AND only 42% of women vs. 57% of men pay themselves a salary.

These situations were true for me as well:

* I left an Assistant Director position at a local college after having my second son and work from home.

* I have never giving myself a set salary. I put the money back into my businesses or helped save for my two son’s college expenses as equally as my husband.

* I own a service business which demands a lower hourly rate than a woman in a technology, science or product type business.

I’m happy with my career choices but wish – not only for myself – but for the thousands of women entrepreneurs I have represented over two decades that there was Equal Pay for Women law so we had justification for asking a certain hourly wage based on our education, experience expertise and a rate comparable to our corporate sisters in the marketplace.

I honestly believe equal pay will only happen for professional career women whether entrepreneurs or employees – if our great nation finally creates and passes an Equal Pay Act Law. The important word in all that I have stated is the word “law.”

I urge you and your congress members this year – 2017 – the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New York State, to finally pass a law for equal pay just like it passed a law for women to vote.

Women couldn’t wish to vote. We had to have it be a law. Women can’t wish to receive equal pay. It must become a law. That law will help not only women, but families earn more which in turns helps them contribute in greater ways to our local and national economy.

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