How Female Freelancers Can Help Close the Gender Pay Gap


Almost 60 years have passed since the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. That bill made it illegal for employers to pay women less for the same job as they would pay a man.

Yet among full-time employees, male workers earn about 20% more than females do on average. Part of the reason that the gender pay gap persists include differences in education, work experience and predominant occupations. Gender discrimination within the workplace also continues to be a major issue, with 4 out of 10 women experiencing such incidents.

The ongoing issue of gender pay disparities has led many women to look for alternatives outside the traditional workforce in the form of self-employment. According to a recent survey from accounting software firm FreshBooks, up to 13 million women are considering leaving the workforce over the next five years to start their own business due primarily to gender discrimination issues. 

Equity in Freelancing?

The growth of the freelance workforce in the digital age has created new opportunities to earn a living outside of the normal 9 to 5 grind. It turns out that there may be more gender pay parity for freelancers as well.

An analysis of earners on the Fiverr platform found just a 0.4% difference between male and female freelancers. In other words, men earned $100.4 for ever $100 female freelancers earned.

The same analysis also found that women had higher earnings overall on the platform, due to the fact that they receive 9% more jobs on the platform than men do each month.

Closing the Gap

That is all very good news, indeed, for Fiverr freelancers, yet gender pay issues still exist in the freelancing world as a whole. In fact, some studies have found that the pay gap within the broader gig economy is even bigger than it is with traditional employment. 

As freelancers, women have more control over how much they work and for how much. With this in mind, here are a few ways that female freelancers can ensure they are earning an equitable wage:

  • Don’t undervalue your services. Setting your rates is always a tricky proposition, and there is always a temptation to charge a lower rate to attract clients. But this creates a trap that all freelancers, regardless of gender, can find themselves falling into. Instead of joining the race to the bottom, carefully research rates among all freelancers of similar experience for the work that you do and set them accordingly.
  • Don’t tolerate late payers. Research from invoice company Bonsai found that female freelancers were paid late more often than men. A late-paying client clearly isn’t valuing your work and feels like they can take advantage of you. Be aggressive with your collections when you need to, or find work through platforms that hold your payment in escrow to avoid such issues.
  • Master the art of negotiation. A Glassdoor study found that 68 percent of women did not negotiate salary offers vs. 52 percent of men. Just the simple act of asking for a higher rate can bump your pay significantly.  
  • Build a brand. Building a brand as a freelancer is a key aspect of commanding higher rates. Develop an online persona that speaks to your strengths and highlights your expertise to help you stand out from other writers in your field.

Forward March

Women have come along way in their quest to close the gender pay gap, but still have a ways to go. 

As more women turn to freelancing, whether as a career or as a part-time gig, they can play a role in the fight for equity by accepting nothing less than their male counterparts. Many have done just that on the Fiverr platform and we hope that you join them.

Fiverr Team
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