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Overqualified but Underpaid? Tips for Women to Fight for Equal Pay


 Here’s the case: you love your current job, as it invokes your passion and sparks your interest to keep learning and improving your expertise in the field. Not to mention, you feel contented with the organisation’s favorable culture and supportive working environment as well.

However, here comes the undeniable fact that clouds your mind: inadequate compensation to meet your monetary worth. With all the qualifications and experiences, there are good chances that actually you could achieve higher position, and thus earn more.

The problem is one but obvious – you are a woman.

Gender pay gap is a global issue. Regardless of their positions, most women throughout the world are still struggling to achieve equal earnings. In Singapore, it is reported that being a woman means that you will get 43 percent less pay than your male peers. Elsewhere, although women in the United Kingdom are still lacking from male employees, they get better payment with average about 18 percent less an hour than men.

Ever since women’s active participation in the workforce decades ago, the issue over gender pay gap has been growing. Despite the efforts done by women activists to raise awareness toward the significance of equal pay between man and woman in the workplace, people often choose to close their eyes toward the issue. Often perceived as trivial matter, what could women do to deal with undervaluing payment?

‘Take it or leave it’ often becomes a common threat for women when they try to negotiate for higher salary with the employers. And most of the time, women have to agree for whatever the compensation offered by employers, simply because they do not have other better choices.

Rather than staying unemployed for too long and seeming outdated, most women tend to compromise with the situation and accept the available offer on hand, even when they are aware of being overqualified for the position. Owing to which, they have to be willing to accept less salary than they actually deserve.

Then the question remains, is there nothing women can really do to improve their bargaining power? Here are 5 things women can actually do to fight for equal pay:


Start the fight early

The truth is, gender pay gap actually widens when a woman gets older. In a bid for a job, it is common for employer to ask about your past salaries and decide your compensation from there. Therefore, it is crucial to start your fight early for fair pay at the early stages of your career. Hone your negotiation skill and ask for the best compensation you deserve.


Talk with your boss

When you realise that you have been underpaid, the best advice is to talk directly and have conversation with your boss about it. If you are unsure of how to approach your boss, first place you should go would be the HR department. Share your thoughts with them and find out what you can do to fix the situation.


Document everything

When you suspect that there might be salary discrimination in the company, you need to document everything that underlies your suspicion. Take notes of any relevant information that will support your argument, if you have to make a formal complaint to your employer, or even file a lawsuit in the future.


Gather collective support

As the old adage says, ‘there is power in numbers.’ Gathering collective support from other coworkers who experience the same injustice in pay at work, can be a good starting point to push for better and fairer pay at work. Collecting massive support often becomes an effective method to carry out real and impactful change within a system.


File a lawsuit

When you have followed the previous four points and nothing much is done by your employer, then filing a lawsuit against the company will be one but unavoidable solution. While this could be a risky move for your career in the organisation, there will be a great sense of achievement when you can bring real change and achieve equal pay after winning the lawsuit. 

This article was written by Talentvis Singapore Pte Ltd (


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