Top Challenges Women Face

Women face a number of challenges.  In the workplace, the top challenges women face significantly affects their personal financial bottom line. 

The top three (3) challenges I am referring to are the following:  

  • Underpaid
  • Underrated
  • Underestimated

Again and again, surveys show women earn less than their male counterparts.  The most recent survey revealed that on average, women earn 82% of what men earn.

It's called the gender pay gap.

The pay gap for female managers is better, but only slightly.  Female managers, on average, earn 90% compared to their male counterparts.

(More about the Gender Pay Gap later.)

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Top Challenges Women Face

Women are strong and are know for being high achievers.  Often taken for granted in the workplace, more and more responsibility are placed on women who are ready to step up to the plate.

Even with a great track record, being known as the go-to or subject matter experts, women face a number of challenges.

Let's take a look at the top challenges women face in the workplace that directly impacts their personal financial bottom line.  In other words, their purchasing/buying power and ability to build wealth.

The top three challenges I am referring to are:

  • Underpaid
  • Underrated
  • Underestimated

Can you relate?  If so, let's take a deeper look into possible reasons why these challenges exist. Please read on.


As mentioned earlier, the gender pay gap is real.  It is the number one challenge women face in the workplace.

The most recent survey shows women earn 82%, on average, compared to what men earn.  Female managers earn 90%.  

When you dig deeper, there is some explanation as to why there is a pay gap.  The terms, as defined by the Women's Foundation are shown below:

  • Uncontrolled Gender Gap - measures median salary for all men and women regardless of job type, seniority, location, industry, years of experience, etc.
  • Controlled Gender Gap - measures pay for men and women with the same job and qualifications.

Payscale gives more detail: the controlled gender pay gap tells us what women earn compared to men when all compensable factors are accounted for — such as job title, education, experience, industry, job level, and hours worked.


During my career in Corporate America, annual performance reviews were mandatory.  As an individual contributor, I had periodic conversations (usually quarterly) with my direct supervisor about my performance.

When I moved into a leadership position, not only did I have discussions about my performance, it was expected that I would have performance reviews with my direct reports.  The purpose was to give and get timely feedback on goals and objectives set at the beginning of the performance period.

Therefore, you can imagine how aghast I am when women tell me they have infrequent discussions about their performance.  Some report having an annual discussion, others say they have none at all

Not having stated goals and objectives at the beginning of the performance period AND infrequent discussions on performance is a surefire way to be underrated. 

To prevent being underrated, make sure you are:

  • Clear on goals and objectives upfront
  • Check in periodically to ensure you're on track
  • Communicate overall results at end of performance period


To be underestimated is to be perceived as less capable, that one does not measure up, and does not have what it takes to get the job done.

It is not a foreign concept for women because it is an age-old challenge, an opportunity to overcome.  

I thought it was interesting that Payscale states that "the controlled pay gap tells us what women earn compared to men when all compensable factors are accounted for — such as job title, education, experience, industry, job level, and hours worked."

What I found most interesting?  It says nothing about performance.  The list of compensable factors do not reference performance, results or how they add value to the company's bottom line.

Simone Biles Was Underestimated Too

Speaking of top challenges women face, I stumbled upon an article about Simone Biles, who just happens to be the Greatest of All Time (aka GOAT) when it comes to gymnastics.

In an opinion piece written by Amy Bass, Professor of Sport Studies at Manhattanville College, who has also authored several books.

The title of the opinion piece is The Hypocrisy of Trying to Put Limits on Simone Biles.  Amy Bass opens the article with this: “On the one hand, Simone Biles is the greatest athlete of all time. On the other hand, well – there is no other hand."

She goes on to say, “In the past, her work has been underrated, underrecognized and undervalued."  

Even Simone Biles? Yes, even Simone Biles.

Check out this episode of my podcast Zap The Gender Pay Gap to hear how Simone Giles proved her naysayers wrong.


Want To Know More?

What about you? Are you facing any of these challenges in your workplace?

I believe hidden within every challenge there is at least one opportunity. In the challenges you face, could there be an opportunity to take action that gets what you want most?

What if...:

  • Instead of underpaid, you could close your pay gap?
  • Instead of underrated, you could set yourself up for success?
  • Instead of underestimated, you could show proof of how you add value?

I would love to show you how.  Contact me HERE

Before You Go!

Please check out my e-book Underpaid:  #1 Challenge Women Face In the Corporate Workplace.  In it, I share information about:

  • The state of pay for women 
  • The state of pay for women who lead

I lay out steps to calculate and close your pay gap.

It is important to know about the state of pay for women in the workplace, but the most important thing is determining YOUR state of pay and how the gender pay gap is impacting YOUR financial bottom line.

You work hard for your money.  Why not take home all of it?


Download a complimentary copy of my ebook HERE

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About Coach Gwen



Leaders don't







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