#BalanceforBetter is the theme for International Women’s Day this year – it’s all about gender equality or balance in the world and in the workplace, without which our economies and communities simply cannot thrive.

Balance is not a women’s issue – it’s a world-wide imperative and one in which we can all play a role

“South Africa is not immune to inequality in the workplace. According to the Global Wage Report, for 2018/19, women are being paid, on average, 28% less than their male counterparts,” says Casey Rousseau, from 1st for Women Insurance.

The good news is that there are positive moves towards gender equality. A survey conducted by women’s career forum, Fairygodboss, says that in 2019, more people will see gender equality as a business imperative, with organisations taking action to hire more women, providing them with better benefits and starting resource groups for women, to attract and retain them within their businesses.

Moreover, employees will drive change and there will be continuous progress for female representation on the boards of organisations.

Women need to know their value in the workplace and ask for what they want

Until that happens, Rousseau believes that women need to know their value in the workplace and ask for what they want.

WIN a R 2,000 Woolworths Voucher

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

“When it comes to the gender pay-gap, many say that women are less likely to negotiate their salaries than men are. However, recent research says that women ask for a raise just as often as men, but men are more likely to be successful,” says Rousseau.

How to ask for a raise:

Don’t think you will be noticed simply by working harder and smarter than your colleagues. Women need to learn to speak up and be less reserved when it comes to self-promotion.

Know your worth. Build relationships and use salary benchmarking resources to see what people in your role should be earning – request your increase in accordance.

Have a plan for the future. Talk about your achievements to date, but also what you plan to achieve in your role going forward. Talk to your employer about how you can accomplish these goals.

Speaking about money can feel awkward but asking for an increase is something best done face to face and not via e-mail. Do your research, know what you want to say and practice so that you are prepared.

Make a list of your accomplishments and talk about them with your employer – did you win a client or work on a project that increased revenue? Your employer may not know your value within your team or what you have accomplished unless you talk about it

Be confident and positive – others will be drawn to your confidence and take you more seriously.

Leave emotion out of it – this is a business discussion, where emotions have no place.

Don’t give your employer an ultimatum unless you really are prepared to leave the job.

“Fighting for gender equality really can start with you having the courage to ask for what you deserve,” Rousseau believes.

5 Celebrity women who inspire us to never give up