The founder of Girls Who Code and bestselling author of Brave, Not Perfect confronts the “big lie” of corporate feminism and presents a bold plan to address the burnout and inequity harming America’s working women today.
We told women that to break glass ceilings and succeed in their careers, all they needed to do is dream big, raise their hands, and lean in. But data tells a different story. Historic numbers of women left their jobs in 2021, resulting in their lowest workforce participation since 1988. Women’s unemployment rose to nearly fifteen percent, and globally women lost over $800 billion in wages. Fifty-one percent of women say that their mental health has declined, while anxiety and depression rates have skyrocketed.
In this urgent and rousing call to arms, Reshma Saujani dismantles the myth of “having it all” and lifts the burden we place on individual women to be primary caregivers, and to work around a system built for and by men. The time has come, she argues, for innovative corporate leadership, government intervention, and sweeping culture shift; it’s time to Pay Up.
Through powerful data and personal narrative, Saujani shows that the cost of inaction—for families, for our nation’s economy, and for women themselves—is too great to ignore. She lays out four key steps for creating lasting change: empower working women, educate corporate leaders, revise our narratives about what it means to be successful, and advocate for policy reform.
Both a direct call to action for business leaders and a pragmatic set of tools for women themselves, Pay Up offers a bold vision for change as America defines the future of work.
About the Author
Reshma Saujani is a leading activist and the founder of Girls Who Code and the Marshall Plan for Moms. She has spent more than a decade advocating for women’s and girls’ economic empowerment, working to close the gender gap in the tech sector, and, most recently, championing policies to support mothers impacted by the pandemic. Saujani is also the author of the international bestseller Brave, Not Perfect, and her influential TED talk, “Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection,” has more than five million views. She began her career as an attorney and Democratic organizer, and she now lives in New York City with her husband, Nihal; their sons, Shaan and Sai; and their bulldog, Stanley.
"Reshma Saujani has helped many women crack the glass ceiling, but now she’s convinced that we need to rebuild the foundation of work itself. Her provocative book will challenge you to rethink some of your basic assumptions about what it will take to create real equality of opportunity.” —Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and Originals, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife
"Reshma Saujani is a truth teller and builder of movements. For all of the women who have climbed the ladder at work but still find themselves sidelined, exploited, and burned out, this book offers a daring new approach: it's not our job to do more, it's time for our workplaces to pay up." —Tarana Burke, Executive Director of 'me too' International
"Pay Up exposes the lie that so many high achieving women were indoctrinated with: work hard, do well, and do anything a man can do. Finally, we have a book that aims to fix the system, not the woman." —Rachel Simmons, New York Times bestselling author of Odd Girl Out
"The last two years have been scary, stressful, and heartbreaking for every family in America, and we're all still searching for a way forward. Pay Up is a moving look at the daily sacrifices women make, and a rousing demand to make those sacrifices visible, respected, and valued. " —John Legend
"The crisis facing women today isn't just about lost wages, it's about the internal harm done by overwork and the long-term implications for families. Pay Up goes beyond giving advice —it provides clear strategies that empower women to change their workplaces and their homes. This book is a must read for any working mom who wakes up wondering: 'Is this worth it?'" —Dr. Becky Kennedy, Founder & CEO of Good Inside