bridget brennan

118 years, why are we running the world for so little?

  • Beyonce says "Girls, We Run the World".

  • Bridget Brennan says that women account for 80% of all purchase in the United States (5)

  • Woman is the vessel through which all life is born

  • More than 3/4 of of all teachers are women and this number increases even more in elementary and middle school levels (1)

  • 80% of all nurses are women (down 7% in 40 years.) (3)

  • 66% of all caregivers are women (4)

  • Without women, we as a society and culture do not exist and YET...

None of that is valued in our society, even today in 2015.

don't believe me?

Then why is it that last week a global report came out that stated it is still another 118 years until the gender pay gap closes globally? (6)

wait? what? 

Traditionally female roles like a teacher, earn less on average which is part of the problem.

The median salary for a teacher in the United States is around $40,000 and has remained relatively the same since the 1970's. (inflation-adjusted terms) (1)

YUP, that is 40 years with relatively no rise in salary!!

In comparison, women who work outside of teaching have seen salary growth around 25%. (1) However, this reinforces the idea that jobs traditionally held by women are not valued on the same level. I think it is even fair to say that we don't value "caregiving" in our culture, at least not in a way that allows people to be compensated for it. 

Or do we?  

On average male nurses make about $10,000 more annually than women. (3) When you look at the research you often hear one of the reasons being that women negotiate less than men. I believe the statistic. I talk to women all of the time but I struggle with it. First let me say that YES we should be negotiating. I'm not happy about it but let's face it, big corporations are concerned with their bottom line before their people. Harsh? Maybe but if it weren't true then negotiation wouldn't be necessary because they would pay people based on value and make the first offer the right offer. Alas, that is not the culture we live in so they make a lower offer in the hopes that we won't negotiate.

According to a survey on the site, out of 500 women questioned only 16% say that they always negotiate compensation. (7) As I travel and speak around the country, the most frequent questions I get are around resume's and negotiation. Women know they should be doing it but they feel uncomfortable and don't necessarily now how to do it. (Interestingly enough, there is quite a bit of research out there that says the Millenial generation struggles with this across gender.)

If the idea that "negotiation" is a key reason in preventing the closing of the Gender Pay Gap, man are we in trouble. For one, globally, there are countries where a woman asking for a higher salary could prevent her from getting paid at all, provoke violence and worse. YES, we still live in a world where women using their voice doesn't always elicit a positive response. Even if we focus just on the US, the idea that the initial offer to a woman is in some cases automatically less than what is offered a man tells you immediately how a company values you as a woman. Why would I want to help a company grow that doesn't value what I bring to the table?

Some may read this and think it is a harsh view on what is going on but I am telling you I hear it every single day. Statistics are one think and they help provide some support to the story but if I had never read a single article or saw a single news story on this subject, I would still know that the "gender pay gap" exists. Like I said, I hear about it everywhere I go. 

I guess it comes down to this, are we okay with it taking 118 years to earn the same amount of money as our male counterparts? I for one am not. Globally, this issues becomes even more difficult that it is in the US. If you saw the average salaries at the beginning of this post, you get a small inkling of why that is. It is also sometimes difficult to look at a problem so large, so let's try and break it into smaller pieces. How do we make a change in our own country, state, community and even the specific places that we work?

The tips I am about to list are my opinions. They are based on conversations I have had with women across the country, situations I have seen and my real life experiences. Take from them what works for you and leave the rest, that's really all we can do.

Leave emotion out of it. YES,

I said it. The girl who cries at the drop of a dime, even in her bosses office just said to leave emotion out of it. That does not mean, don't cry or make your case. It means that your boss does not care about any of the following

  • You have bills to pay

  • You THINK you should make more

  • You "heard" that  other people in the office make more

  • Your car just broke down

  • You really want to buy a house or some other big ticket item

  • You don't think what you make is fair

  • You d/did exactly what they asked for

The only items you should be bringing to the table when discussing salary are measurables

  • what have you done ABOVE & BEYOND the job description? Be specific and make it tangible to business growth & development

  • What do/have you bring to the table that is helping grow the business

  • reputation - how do other's view you? clients, co-workers etc.

  • Proof of EXCEEDING the goal you set forth

Know your business, know the market, know your value and know your worth

  • You need to do some research before they offer you the job. What is the average salary for jobs like the one you are being offered. 

  • don't just look up titles, understand the responsibilities tied to the role

  • how do those responsibilities line up to your previous experience

  • make it specific to your city and industry if possible (ie. tech industry is going to pay more than the sports industry in most cases)

Money isn't the only item to be negotiated, what is important to you. 

  • additional benefits

  • a customized work schedule

  • continuing education

A few additional things to consider:

  • Ask for feedback and use the feedback to rally your cause

  • Be brave enough to walk away from something that doesn't serve you. BUT... Be smart enough to know if it is ego or reality

  • Work smart. Work hard. Both have value. NEVER work for free. Value your time, skills and abilities enough to know that working for free or charity should only be offered to those in need. Corporations don't need your philanthropy but there are a lot of people and organizations who do. Know when to make the distinction between the two.

  • Lastly, ask questions. We don't know, what we don't know so continually be learning. The more we do know, the more we can do to initiate change.

Have you ever negotiated your salary or a raise at work? What worked for you? Tell me in the comments below. Let's build a community of women sharing their win's with each other.



  5. The Female Factor

got cojones?

I was recently on a plane having a lovely discussion with the woman sitting next to me. She was in her 60’s and was asking me about what I do which then flourished into a really great conversation on gender, workplace, the past and how far we have come etc.

After about an hour or so she got up to use the restroom. When she was gone, the man sitting on the other side of me tapped me on the shoulder “I couldn't help but over hear your conversation, do you mind if I ask you something?”

I of course agreed and this was his question...

"What do you say to boys so they don’t feel emasculated?"

I did a double take unsure if I had heard his question correctly and asked for some clarification. In short he proceeded to explain that he works for the federal government and that in his experience the government and other companies are giving jobs to women instead of men and that the woman are never “thought leaders” and often not deserving of the job but only get it because they are women and that is the big push right now.  So do I speak to boys so that they don’t get discouraged by this? 

It is not often that I am left , and speechless. In this moment, however, I was. He was not rude but there was something in his tone that told me I needed to tread softly. (also not really a strong point of mine) An airplane is not the best place to have a conversation like this...while there are emergency exits, they are not exactly an option.

But here is the thing, some of what he said isn't necessarily wrong. Across the nation there are programs working specifically to help women get jobs and research shows that women are getting employed in record numbers. But does that mean they are "stealing" jobs from men? Are they not qualified?

I would argue that they are very qualified. In fact women are working to get qualified, consider this: 

women’s median income in the US grew 29% compared to 2% for men

Women are making all of this headway because they have chosen to go out and get educated. While there are programs for women today (thank goodness), they aren't just given to women. Women are working for them. Need proof?

As I thought about how I would respond to this gentleman, I realized that providing all of these stats and other similar ones was probably not going to make him feel any better. Instead I focused on the fact that what I speak about is not focused on emasculating anyone or saying that any one gender is better than another. I also tried to express that at the end of the day, it shouldn't be about one gender being better than another, one race better than another, one sexual preference being better than another. It's about providing opportunities for EVERYONE that is willing to go after it. 

Our conversation was nice. He accepted my explanation and gave me a few things to think about as well. At the end of the day isn't that what it's all about?

I am not sure that this post was necessarily about anything in particular. I just felt like the experience should be shared. So, there you have it


Why She Buys - Bridget Brennan

the economy of gender in day with the university of san francisco

This week I had the pleasure of being able to speak at the University of San Francisco. It was such a great experience to talk about "The Economy of Gender in Sports" with a group of people just embarking on the career as students in the Sports Marketing Master's Program. You can see how excited they are to start the next chapter and be part of an industry that they love. There is something contagious about that. It almost makes you want to go back. (I said ALMOST)

The part that excited me the most was seeing how many women were in the room. Traditionally sports hasn't been the most welcoming place for women but in the last decade or so things have slowly started to change and these women were proof of that. What struck me though was what followed my presentation. A number of the ladies came up to me (which is common after speaking) but it was what they said that was truly inspiring to me. 

One of the women explained that she had not previously known how she would fit into the industry and if it was the right place for her but seeing the data and information, she saw it and was excited about what that could mean for her future. Another said that she had always wanted to do this but that this just made it real. And yet another said that she had never been on the dge of her seet for a presentation before adn for this she was. The reason for this had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the content. 

Often times as women, we know what we want to do or we know we want to do something but it is rare that we are able to see in advance where the opportunities are and how we can ft in and being able to share details of the industry and how women fit in allows women to see a path and have the confidence to move forward. It is not lost on me that I get to be the microphone for that cause. It is because of this I thought I would share a little bit of the information I shared with them to hopefully help you get inspired to get out there too.

with education comes opportunities and financial security, look how many women are getting educated, not just in the US but beyond.  - SOURCE:    Why She Buys by Bridget Brennan

with education comes opportunities and financial security, look how many women are getting educated, not just in the US but beyond.  - SOURCE: Why She Buys by Bridget Brennan

Interested Yet? Want to learn more? Have an event, company or occasion you need a speaker for? Let's talk, go to the HIRE ME page and connect with me.

P.S. One last thing. Major shout out to the University of San Francsico Sports Marketing Management program for inviting me to participate and the students in the program for having such a great dialog and reminding me why I do what I do.

The Exclamation Point

According to Wikipedia the exclamation point in the form we know it today came in the middle ages. As with most words, at least from what I can tell from the Scripps Spelling Bee, came from Latin. The idea is explained as being taken from an exclamation of "joy" which in Latin was represented by "io". As the legend continues into the middle ages where "io" also was said to mean "hurray". Later the modern form that we all know and love "!" was introduced. As time when on the mark was referred to as the "sign of admiration" in the 15th century by the English. Then in the 17th century admiration referred to a "sense of wonderment".

What a wonderful piece of punctuation! Why do we not use it more? According to a speaker I saw some time back, Bridget Brennan, author of The Female Factor, women tend to use the exclamation point far more often than men. You need only to look at the cover of any number of magazines aimed at women and compare them to those aimed at men to see that she is right. You can also check your text messages which in my experience have way more exclamation points than those coming from any of the men I know.

I wonder why this is. Do women have more "joy" than men? Do we have more of a "sense of wonder" than men? Do we say "HURRAY" more than men? Does anyone really say "HURRAY" anymore? (I can tell you this much, my spell check doesn't recognize the word, did it disappear?)

I don't actually know the answers to any of those questions and while I could have researched further for you, it defeats the point of this soliloquy. The point is, whether you are male or female, shouldn't we be using exclamation points more? If it means JOY, HURRAY and a SENSE OF ADMIRATION AND WONDERMENT, sign me up!

Hope you are Living Your Life In An Exclamation Point Today!

P.S. I just had to share another book with you."The Exclamation Point" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld