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Yes, There’s a Gender Wage Gap in Freelancing, Too

A 2018 Women in the Workforce report found that there is a 28 percent gender wage gap among freelancers.

The report covered a span of 2 years and approximately 1,600 women were surveyed. The findings detailed that, on average, women freelancers earn $56,184 annually. Their male counterparts were reported to earn $77,540 annually.

There are nearly 15 million self-employed Americans, and, of that number, men outnumber women and are more likely to have paid employees in their small business.

Several potential contributors to the wage gap were outlined in the report. For instance, more of the women-owned businesses were relatively new – about 40 percent had been active for less than 3 years.

Women freelance workers were also more likely than men to work part-time as opposed to full-time, and were younger, with 57 percent younger than 50.

But a more surprising contributor to the wage gap in freelancing is that 20 percent of the women surveyed stated they had to charge less than their male peers to establish and maintain clients.


Perhaps it has to do with the very real stigmas women face as entrepreneurs – like the stigma surrounding women asking for raises in the workplace. One does not want to come off as too ambitious or too assertive, especially in the face of potential clients that are needed to keep a small business going. It’s why a lot of women hesitate to make monetary requests.

As NPR’s Jennifer Ludden put it, women simply don’t ask for more money. But in the world of freelancing where income is inconsistent, women have to push past that stigma and dive into their business with confidence.

Out of 1,600 women surveyed in the 2018 report, 30 percent said they believed they weren’t being taken as seriously as their male counterparts, 34 percent said they experienced gender discrimination while self-employed, and another 30 percent said they felt they had to work harder than men who do the same kind of job.

Self-employed women need to exude a certain self-assuredness to the outside world because business confidence breeds consumer confidence. As Forbes’ The Salary Chronicles puts it, you’ll never know what could be unless you speak up and just go for it.

Featured Image by rawpixel on Pixabay

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