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Renata Vannier

Celebrities Posted Makeup-Free Selfies

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Sometimes ignorance is leverage. A few years back, when I made the switch from one media company to another, it was precisely the lack of transparency about my salary that allowed me to more than double my salary in the process.

I happen to be good at job interviews, and at the end of a particularly impressive one I threw out a very high number, thinking to myself that the worst that could happen would be a “no.” They said yes. This would have been much harder to pull off had my prior salary been published. Ever since then, one of the pieces of advice I give to women who are negotiating their salary is to always ask for as much money as they can say out loud without laughing.

One young woman I spoke with, who currently works in the government, voiced concern about having the money conversation be so open. “I think it does take away a certain leverage,” she says of the fact any new employer could, if they wanted to, Google her previous salary. “I will try to avoid as much as possible [revealing that it’s public]. I think when I move to my next job, I will try to withhold.”

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How am I supposed to pick a concealer?

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Recently, there has been a push by some major digital-based companies towards salary transparency. The current thinking―one that is very much based on the ethos of Internet that the more we know, the better―is that open books will result in an even the playing field.

In the male-dominated world of tech, where women notoriously have a more difficult time getting funding, an even playing field is in the interests of many. To that end, Pinterest recently announced that it was conducting a pay audit of all its employees, and the real estate start-up Redfin went so far as to publish it’s salaries. Women are notoriously not as good at negotiating for themselves as men, and there is some belief that a lack of salary transparency can further hinder their efforts.

At first glance, this may sound like a simple and obvious fix: If you can see how much your co-workers are making, you can demand a comparable amount. But, as with all fundamental shifts it comes with it’s own set of complications.

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What Your Shoes Shape Says About You

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Cahn took her model from her former employer, Google, where she was head of sales and saw the benefits of the open system there. Google didn’t publish individual salaries, but made ranges for roles public, so that employees had a solid sense of exactly where they stood in the company: “Everyone had their levels and tangible steps how to get there.”

It’s worth noting, that Silicon Valley is not a pioneer in this particular area. The Federal Government publishes the salaries of all its employees every year. (There, the government has the added incentive of needing to account for taxpayer dollars.)

Kara DeFrias, deputy director of 18F, a digital services agency that works within the federal government, finds the lack of transparency at most companies when it comes to salary necessarily complicates the hiring process: “I’ve long been frustrated that HR departments don’t publish salary ranges on job descriptions,” says DeFrias. The obscurity of salary information can set off a “cat and mouse game” when you’re applying for a job: “If you ask too early what the range is, you could look like a jerk; if they ask previous salary or desired pay range first you’re screwed.” DeFrias says she always asks first now when she’s applying for a new job.

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It’s that time again…

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If there is a catchword that sums up 2015, it must be transparency. Whether it is in reference to Hillary Clinton’s emails: “I am trying to be as transparent as I possibly can.” Or the fact that smartphones and social media have given us a direct view of what it’s like to be a black person in this country dealing with law enforcement officials, we are living in an age where formerly locked doors are being thrown open.

Let’s take the gender wage gap. It’s widely known that women get paid less than men over the course of their careers; 22 cents less per hour, to be exact. Women are paid even less than that in certain states, and significantly less if you are a woman of color: Hispanic women make 54 percent of white men’s salaries, black women 64 percent.

The fact that we know this, however, hasn’t resulted in much change: the wage gap has remained the same for more than a decade, and the Equal Pay Act hasn’t been updated in more than 50 years. (Efforts to amend the act are perpetually stalled in Congress.)

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Chanel’s Got a Boy.Friend: Meet the New Arm Candy

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Chanel’s new Boy.Friend watch collection—like the ideal boyfriend, perhaps?—is traditionally masculine in its aesthetics (that clean, rectangular face!) but with a spirit only improved by a light feminine touch. And refined materials—even brilliant-cut diamond embellishment, if you so chose!—mean style needn’t be sacrificed for the allure of androgyny. A new twist on a classic, courtesy of Chanel? Don’t mind if we do! This is a piece of arm candy that’s around for the long haul.

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