We have all done it. Even though we know better. "It will be great for your visibility" we/they say. The chance is high you have either asked someone for something for free or you have been asked to give away something for free. Probably both. And this goes beyond the occasional marketing strategy. We are talking about your time, your talent, your super powers.
femme x COLUMBIA was founded to change the traditional systems of capital distribution. We aim to leverage the power of community to achieve gender equality when it comes to access to social, political, and financial capital. Lofty goal, yes. What does that mean? How do we measure it? Let's say we use gender parity to compare a particular indicator among women, like average income, to the same indicator among men. When we have these indicators, we can start looking at equity and what's different in terms of rights, benefits, obligations, and opportunities. Then we make changes or adjustments to those differences to improve gender parity for the goal of gender equality. Complicated, right? Well, not really. Elevating women means....wait for it.....we have to pay them.
So, why aren't women getting paid what they are worth? We have to pause and ask ourselves: how am I contributing to the problem? Am I respecting the value of other women's time/services/business? Am I valuing myself and demanding compensation or do I let people undermine that value?
As women and business owners, we are constantly re-thinking our value every time someone asks for a service for free or at a reduced rate. Maybe our rates are unreasonable. Or maybe we do need more of the elusive "visibility." But honestly ladies, you are smarter than that! I know you researched the market until you were on the 100th page of google results. There was method behind the madness. Chances are you probably should take that rate and add 20%.
"What am I worth" is a routine conversation at femme x. This led us to pause and think about self-worth and value, and how to stop the vicious cycle of women not knowing their own value or not being clear about their value. In order to get paid, women have to lead the effort. We have to model at the level of our [bank accounts, apple wallet, Venmo] that what we do for a living is worth money.
We have put together 5 solutions we can all commit to, and we bet you have even more.
1. Get your wallet out - Insist on paying fair value when retaining another woman's services or expertise. If you truly see value in an exchange of services/goods in place of financial compensation, go for it. Just make sure it feels fair to you, gut check.
2. Brag on yourself - Talk about your strengths A LOT and to A LOT of people. Don't apologize for being a bad ass. Verbal and non-verbal communication builds confidence. Let them see the confident you and your self-worth.
3. Put a price tag on it - Whether it is your product, service, hourly rate, or salary, put a price tag on it.
4. Let 'em go - You are not for everyone, and you have to be ok if someone does not pay for "it". Business is not a one way relationship. Serving everybody = serving nobody. Be proactive and identify your target group that will pay for your value.
5. F*!k up - Believe in yourself. Stop overthinking and overworking to guarantee an ideal image. You are going to make mistakes. Own it, forgive yourself, and move on! Failures lead to the greatest success.
So in summary, pay for it. When we follow our 5 solutions, we are ok when people walk away. To attain the goal of gender equality, we believe in setting an example to know our self-worth and value and to respect other's self-worth and value.
Let's be better together by being clear about your value, supporting the value of others, and taking action to improve gender equality! Now, it's your turn to comment.
Nell + Stephanie