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Broadsheet readers talk about sharing their salary

January 17, 2020, 11:39 AM UTC
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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Rep. Ayanna Pressley shares a powerful personal story, Planned Parenthood will spend $45 million on 2020 races, and you tell us what you think about sharing your salaries. Have a wonderful weekend. The Broadsheet will be off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day—we’ll see you here on Tuesday. 

– Cold, hard cash convos. Happy Friday! Let’s wrap up the week with some reader feedback. Last week, I asked you whether you’ve shared or asked about salary details with friends or colleagues—and if so, how those conversations went.

Turns out this is indeed a hot topic! Here’s an edited sampling of what we heard from the “pro” camp:

“Last year, a group of my friends and acquaintances (all women) got together over a potluck to talk about salaries, ask each other our ‘dumb’ money questions in a safe space, share our approaches to investing, etc. It was such an incredible experience, we meet once a quarter now! I’ve never felt so secure and smart about my money in my life. I’ve saved more, invested more, and advocated for myself more.” – TZ

“I’m the CFO of an early stage venture capital firm based out of San Francisco, but I live in Seattle… With regard to salary, in the past 12 months I have noticed folks talking about salaries. In the venture world, the firms are small and the finance team even smaller, so there is no internal standard. I have a close group of CFOs at other firms and we have shared our compensation with each other (base, bonus, carry), on an individual level. There are three other colleagues (CFOs) who know my salary… I share my compensation because I am comfortable with what I make and my work arrangement. There is no amount of money that would entice me to take on more stress or hours, so I am fine sharing since I think I have a sweet deal…which is what happiness is all about, your own perception about your specific situation.” – LK

“Inspired by an episode of the HBR Women at Work podcast, I told my mentees with whom I have a trusting relationship that I was on a six-figure salary. (I think there was a bit of shock on the receiving end.)” – JM

However, your responses were far from unanimous. Some readers remain wary of the whole idea:

“Talking about salary outside of immediate family—like my husband and parents—is a foreign concept. I wouldn’t even tell my brother! It’s personal, like asking someone how much they weigh. It’s a number I’m not comfortable sharing… I lead a team of 30 people across the Midwest region and I tell them, ‘Nothing good comes from it, you’ll either be upset or they will, so just keep it to yourself.'” – anonymous

“I’m in my late 30s, and I do not talk salary with friends or colleagues. Why? Well, because it’s never really apples to apples, even among women. One of us might be better at our job, and I’d like to think our compensation reflects that. It could get very awkward, very fast. Plus, I’m just old fashioned. I don’t think it’s anyone’s business except my partner’s. However, with close friends, I’d definitely share advice and info if I trusted them and knew it could never get competitive.” – RR

I also heard from lots of people who are involved in providing resources designed to help women get paid what they’re worth—from DIY industry spreadsheets to consulting and coaching. So, if you’re interested in getting some outside help with this issue, it’s out there. But it’s clear some of you already feel emboldened to share.

Kristen Bellstrom
kristen.bellstrom@fortune.com
@kayelbee

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- OB/GYN abuse. Evelyn Yang, wife of presidential candidate Andrew Yang, sat down with CNN to tell her story of being sexually assaulted by her gynecologist while she was pregnant with her first child in 2012. The doctor, Robert Hadden, was accused of sexually abusing 19 patients and entered a plea deal with the Manhattan DA that allowed him to avoid prison time—as the New York Times covered as part of a pattern of plea deals in October, before Yang was identified as one of the victims. Yang is part of a group of women suing Hadden and Columbia University, which ran his medical facility, for allegedly enabling Hadden's abuse. Hadden denied Yang's allegations in legal filings, and Columbia is contesting the lawsuit. Yang says she decided to come forward now because she feels "an obligation but also a privilege and a gift" of the national platform of her husband's presidential bid. CNN

- Impeachment watch. Ukraine is investigating whether U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was under surveillance before she was dismissed by the Trump Administration, following Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. The disclosure also put a spotlight on Sen. Susan Collins, who had questioned why the House did not have the material earlier. Meanwhile, impeachment is off to the races in the Senate, with Sen. Martha McSally batting away a CNN reporter as a "liberal hack" and many of the presidential candidates back in D.C. for the proceedings. 

- Anchor down. Gap Inc. canceled its planned spinoff of Old Navy, which would have put Old Navy CEO Sonia Syngal at the head of her own Fortune 500 company. Shares surged on news of the decision—and Gap Inc. is still looking for a new CEO. Fortune

- Recording Academy allegations. It's ten days until the Grammy Awards, and the CEO behind the ceremony has been put on leave due to an allegation of misconduct. Deborah Dugan, chief executive of the Recording Academy, became the first woman to lead the organization in August; her appointment was seen as a step forward in the music industry addressing gender bias. The academy says it's conducting a third-party investigation of the allegations. (Dugan couldn't be reached for comment, according to this LAT story.)  L.A. Times

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Nazmin Gupta joined BentallGreenOak as managing director, capital raising and investor relations. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Bald and brave. Rep. Ayanna Pressley spoke out in an emotional, powerful video about suffering from alopecia; she started to lose her hair last fall and became fully bald just before the House voted to impeach President Trump. "My twists have become such a synonymous and a conflated part of not only my personal identity and how I show up in the world, but my political brand," Pressley says in the video, in which she appears without her wig. "And that's why I think it's important that I'm transparent about this new normal." The Root

- Plan of action. Planned Parenthood will spend $45 million backing 2020 presidential, Congressional, and state candidates in favor of abortion rights. It's the largest electoral push in the organization's history and will focus on battleground and swing states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. CNBC

- The secret to better sex scenes. Intimacy coordinators, more and more common in the years after #MeToo, are making sure sex scenes are comfortable and safe on movie and television sets. But—surprise!—they're also making sex scenes better. More specific instructions and attention to performers' needs together are transforming how sex is portrayed on camera. New York Times

- Call of Duty. Johanna Faries is the first—and only—female commissioner of an e-sports league; hers is the new Call of Duty League. The former NFL vice president of club business development faces the test of whether she can bring the burgeoning league to profitability, and she says the sport has as much potential NFL. Fortune

ON MY RADAR

Kat Von D has announced she's selling her makeup brand Cosmopolitan

Aly Raisman confirms she will not compete in 2020 Tokyo Olympics ABC News

When black women go from office pet to office threat Zora

Her sorority sisters suspected she was pregnant. What did Emile Weaver know? Elle

PARTING WORDS

"This isn’t high school. It’s my career." 

-Michigan Advance reporter Allison Donahue, 22, in a piece she wrote after state Sen. Peter Lucido told her a group of high school boys "could have a lot of fun with you."