When Catt Sadler decided to leave her “dream job” at E! News after learning her male co-host was making double her salary, she knew it was a risk, but one worth taking in order to make stand. Now, Sadler has become the face of the gender pay gap issue and she’s using her platform to encourage more women to speak out. That’s why she shipped up to Boston over the weekend to speak at the Women @ Forbes portion of the Under 30 Summit during a panel on “owning your seat at the table” alongside former NFL star Wade Davis, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” author Jenny Han and QED Hospitality CEO Emery Whalen. Following the event, Metro caught up with Sadler to chat about the wage gap issue and what’s next for her following her departure from E! News.
Catt Sadler on the wage gap and what’s next
How would you define having a seat at the table?
Catt Sadler: I want younger women and women who are entering the workforce to know that they are valued, even early on. There’s this notion that, unless you’ve worked 20 years, unless you have a certain title, unless you have a certain label that makes you somehow powerful, that you might not be able to have an impact, and that is certainly not the case. I think women, from day one, are at the table and should pull up a seat. Historically, that’s been difficult for us because so many men consume those seats.
So it’s more about using one’s voice once they arrive at the table?
Catt Sadler: Yeah! I think we’re there. I think we all have a seat, it’s just how we use it. So yeah, use your voice. Don’t be afraid. Don’t think that you don’t add value, because we all do in our own ways. Tap into whatever that is at the table and don’t shrink or disappear. Own it.
You’ve talked a lot about pushing women to negotiate their salaries and to not be afraid about being perceived as a “diva.” However, women, of course, can’t control how men in positions of power view them. Isn’t the onus really on the men in these roles to change their attitudes and not hold negative views of women who try to negotiate?
Catt Sadler: The easy answer is yes, the onus should be on the men who, more often than not, are the ones at the other side of the table during negotiations. But as women continue to soar, as we are and continue to excel and have more positions of power, more women in leadership, more women in jobs that we didn’t used to be in Silicon Valley and the STEM jobs and what’s happening in Washington, I just think that overtime it will get better. It inevitably is getting better, but we have to keep this momentum going for women so that, yes, those men who are the decision makers come at it from a different place than they are used to.
How can men become better allies or advocates for women in the workplace?
Catt Sadler: It starts with caring. Honestly, it’s that simple. The fact of the matter is that when women succeed, everyone succeeds. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. We are their wives, daughters, sisters – they have a vested interest to care about moving women forward. It starts with just waking up and caring. As small as it seems to be an advocate, you can do something every single day that makes a difference in the lives of women.
Now that the situation with E! is in the rearview mirror, what’s next for you on and off TV?
Catt Sadler: The intention was just to share my truth. The fact that somehow I’ve found myself in a position to make change and there are people who I can speak for who don’t have a voice and I was able to leave my job when so many women aren’t and now speak to this issue, is so gratifying. In one sense, my work is to carry on this campaign for women who can’t just quit their jobs overnight and are stuck. I can’t tell you how many friends of female I’ve made all over the world through this experience. It’s just so rewarding, I can’t even begin to tell you.
I’m on fire for this new passion of mine, but TV is in my core. I was on TV for 20 years and I will be back. But I’m just kind of taking my time. I’m in the development phase now of pitching a few shows and I want to do some of that as it pertains to women in the workplace, docu-series work. But also, my expertise is Hollywood and fashion and entertainment and movies and music, so I will play in that world again soon. My production company is called Love Bug Entertainment. I have my own website, so I do a lot of interviews in a series called Naked with Catt Sadler, so I’m developing a podcast out of those interviews. I’m just enjoying the creative process right now of not just being a puppeteer on TV everyday, going on assignment, doing what somebody else tells me to do. Now a whole new world has opened up to me and I’m so grateful.