Empowering Women in the Workplace in the Fight for Equal Pay

Unveiling the Persistent Gender Pay Gap and Efforts to Bridge it

Women worked 72 more days in 2024 to make the same amount men made last year. Meggie Palmer, Founder of PepTalkHer created an app and initiative designed to encourage women to be intentional about tracking their accomplishments and advocating for themselves at work.

Women worked 72 more days in 2024 to make the same amount men made last year.

This phenomenon is known as the gender pay gap, the difference between men and women’s annual income. As of 2024, women make an average of 84 cents to a man’s dollar, for doing the same work. In STEM, male professionals make about $15,000 more than women. When comparing men in STEM to Black or Latina women, that gap increases by more than two-times, to $33,000.

Equal pay has been the center of policy and advocacy for multiple organizations and lawmakers over the past years. However, according to the UN, we’re still nearly 300 years away from actually achieving equal pay. While this timeline can be discouraging, one woman is taking it into her own hands to help women build confidence at work through community and technology.

Policy and social change will still be necessary to achieve equal pay, but empowering women to ask for that raise at work has already impacted many individual lives. No one wants to wait hundreds of years for pay equity and by showing women how to advocate for themselves at work, Meggie Palmer is challenging the gender pay gap, one woman at a time.

Empowering Women to Ask for that Raise

What started as a side hustle for Meggie Palmer has become a mission she’s dedicated herself to full-time. Palmer is the founder of PepTalkHer, an app and initiative designed to encourage women to be intentional about tracking their accomplishments and advocating for themselves at work. Prior to PepTalkHer, Palmer had a career in media, working as a producer for Dateline Australia and a writer for Vogue. Across her work in the industry, she experienced gender pay inequality firsthand.

“[My employer] said ‘if you don’t like it, you should quit or take it to court,’” Palmer tells Built By Girls about speaking up about pay inequality at a former job. “I became really passionate about making sure it didn’t happen to other folks.”

PepTalkHer uses leadership programming, free online resources, and technology to build working women’s confidence. Through their app, PepTalkHer prompts users to record their professional accomplishments so they feel more empowered to advocate for raises that align with their professional growth. “It’s like a fit bit for your career,” Palmer describes. “[There are] tens of thousands of users who use it around the world as a personal brag book.”

Success Stories

Hania Owsinski got involved with PepTalkHer through the Career Level Up program, a course that helps women land jobs they love with their desired pay. “It was sparked by a relocation to Seattle,” Owsinski reflects about joining PepTalkHer’s program. “That’s what helped me pivot from publishing and media sales into advertising partners.”

For Owsinski, PepTalkHer was a tool to pivot her career, but Palmer has seen all kinds of transformations through leading the company. “To me, money gives women choice [and] that’s what excites me,” Palmer explains. “They shift from thinking their career is happening to them, to the mindset of ‘anything is possible in my career.’”

Through working with PepTalkHer, Palmer has seen women be able to move countries or industries, boost their happiness, and even leave unsafe situations. “It’s actually a power dynamic shift,” she explains, sharing that it’s not only about the money that comes with raises, but the confidence boost.

“I get maybe five to ten people per year getting six-figure pay increases,” Palmer voices. While she constantly has people sharing their successes big and small, one of the recent messages that stuck with her was a mom sharing that she was going to put in a pool for her kids after getting a six-figure pay raise. “Those girls are going to have such a different childhood now because their mom believed in herself,” Palmer voices.

At the time she joined PepTalkHer’s program, Owsinski was looking for a new type of personal and professional growth, seeking information about what she tangibly needed to do to shift into her desired industry. ”I was at the precipice of actually needing to invest in my career to get those answers,” she shares with Built By Girls.

Owsinski left the Career Level Up program not only with new skills, but also with a new outlook on her professional life. “I definitely felt more powerful and more in control,” she recalls. “[I left the program] knowing that if your work is making you unhappy and impacting your happiness in everyday life, [you can] take action to change that.”

Advocating for Yourself at Work

PepTalkHer’s work is not going to solve the equal pay gap alone. However, helping women feel more bold and empowered in their personal and professional lives is a first step that everyone can take to move towards equal pay and general workplace equality.

“The thing of advocating for yourself is about realizing that you need to advocate for yourself because it's not guaranteed that people will advocate for you,” Owsinski asserts.

From Palmer’s perspective, there is no age limit to advocating for fair pay at work. Whether you’re in college, your early career, or even in high school, you can start building the foundation for a strong professional career now. “If you can start to build that hustle now, imagine how strong that will be mid-way through your career,” Palmer expresses.

Owsinski also believes you can start building confidence early and encourages women to take advantage of early stages in their careers to take risks and try different things. “Even when you’re [in] college and you're studying, try as many different kinds of the business…as you possibly can, so that 5-7 years into the industry, you can actually figure out what working styles [and] leadership styles actually work for you.”

She also shares that finding your community in and out of the workplace can be a big career booster and that you may find your biggest cheerleaders in the women around you. “I’m excited for the upcoming generations of women in STEM and how they can band together and work together. I’ve been so lucky to experience that throughout my career,” she reflects. “I really hope [Gen Z women] find their people and rise with them.”

Whether you’re an early career professional or only starting to think about what you want to do in your life, start building the base for a strong professional career. Surround yourself with people who build you up, try different experiences, grow your confidence, and learn to advocate for yourself. Palmer puts it best: “Let’s start talking about money so we can make more money, because when women have more money, awesome things happen in the world.”


Hailey Dickinson (she/her) is a freelance writer for Built By Girls and has been writing for the publication since January 2023. She is a creator passionate about using digital platforms to build community, make connections, and ignite positive social change. Outside of writing for Built By Girls, she manages social media and communications for multiple non-profit organizations. She is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota and has a Bachelor’s degree in communications.