Women of Color in Social Work Leadership Get Your Ask Up!



March 15, 2022, was Women’s Equal Pay Day, the date that symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

Black Women Equal Pay Day, September 21, 2022, is the approximate day a Black woman must work into the new year to make what a white non-Hispanic man made at the end of the previous year.

Latina Equal Pay Day, December 8, 2022, is the day that we recognize the wage gap that Latina women face, but in reality, the average Latina woman does not catch up to the average white man’s income until January of the following year.

Negotiation can be an important strategy to eliminate the gender pay gap. Women generally tend to be nurturers and caretakers and society often disapproves of women’s desire to negotiate or expect higher pay. As a result of this expectation, women often feel uncomfortable asking for the salary they need or want. Black and Brown women are members of communal cultures and often feel the pressure magnified. Growing up in poverty or very religious homes also adds layers to our discomfort.

I’ve worked with many diverse and multi-disciplinary teams of professional helpers. In my experience, social workers are the main group who:

  1. Still expect to be paid low wages years into their professional careers
  2. Believe they must leave the profession to be paid well
  3. Need convincing that private practice is not the only path to entrepreneurship

Of course, there are always exceptions and I love that a new generation of social workers are taking center stage who are unashamed to admit that they are in social work for the outcome and the income, but we still have a lot of work to do.

High-Performing Women of Color in Social Work Leadership Reminder:

You paid for your degree, and you should expect to be paid well for your expertise.

Get Your Ask Up!

  • Research the salary for your position.
  • Prepare to showcase your assets and experience with confidence.
  • Practice making the ask and prepare for the negotiation process as companies rarely give their best offer first.
  • Consider all benefits and determine your minimums.
  • Get the agreement in writing.

If you are ready to uplevel your goals and financial expectations in your leadership career, REGISTER for a Career Acceleration Strategy Session.



Nicki Sanders, MSW, ushers high-performing women of color in mid-level social work and human services leadership through promotion to senior leadership. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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