Posts Tagged ‘$tart $mart’

Tomorrow, we’ll learn from the U.S. Census Bureau if there’s been any change in the gender pay gap. Currently, the gap stands at 23 cents, which means that the average woman makes 77 cents for every dollar earned by the average man. It’s important to point out that the numbers are worse for African American and Latina women.

At AAUW, we are addressing the problem from various angles, from our public policy work to our programming. AAUW has offered $tart $mart salary negotiation workshops with the WAGE Project since 2009. We are helping to close the pay gap by arming young women — and some men — with real-world information about salary negotiation. In fact, we are holding a training today at Colby College in Maine, and we have four more sessions scheduled for September in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, and Colorado. To date, we have been to 176 campuses and served more than 7,000 students.

“I didn’t know about the wage gap before I took this workshop, but now I’ll try my best to get paid what I deserve to be paid.”
— $tart $mart participant, Mount San Jacinto College

That’s my hope for women across the country. The wage gap adds up. In a lifetime, the lost earnings can amount to $1 million. We must do all we can to get a fair salary in the first place. Additionally, we must push to strengthen equal pay laws to encourage workplace fairness. As one writer from The Crimson, Harvard University’s student newspaper, so aptly said, “That Harvard diploma may not be quite enough.” The article was about the 2007 AAUW report Behind the Pay Gap, which showed that just one year out of college, women working full time already earn 5 percent less than their male colleagues — even when they work in the same field with the same education and lifestyle factors. Ten years out of college, the gap grows to 12 percent. The wage gap is real, and as economist Heather Boushey points out, for too many women, it starts the minute they throw their graduation caps in the air.

Help combat the wage gap by requesting a $tart $mart workshop in your area.

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As we grow up, we quickly learn that we can negotiate certain aspects of our lives. When I was younger, I tried to negotiate things like my curfew on the weekends and the number of extra snacks I could have from the corner candy store. Although I was already knowledgeable about the gender wage gap, I recently learned through AAUW’s $tart $mart salary negotiation workshop how important it is to negotiate in my adult life, especially my salary and benefits. Besides those trivial negotiations in my childhood, I’ve had very little experience, particularly in the realm of work and wages.

Over the course of her working life, a woman will earn up to $1 million less than a man. As a junior in college, I will soon be entering the workplace. As a young woman, I need to learn how to negotiate my salary and benefits.

Before the $tart $mart workshop, I didn’t know that I could negotiate my salary. I often think that I will be lucky to even get a job, given today’s economy. But by not questioning my salary when I accept a job, I will help maintain the wage gap, especially since it widens over the course of women’s careers. When I look at it this way, I understand how easily that gap can grow. $tart $mart taught me how to be aware of salary ranges and expectations based on factors like job location and specific position details. I also learned how to strategize asking these questions — and how to do so professionally.

As the workshop continued, I realized that I might not be able to help reduce the wage gap if I can’t negotiate my own salary and benefits. It is important for everyone to realize the power of negotiation — it can’t hurt to ask. I recommend this workshop to all young women so that they can earn as much as they deserve for their work — and stay on par with men.

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Laura Corrigan.

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It’s the $tart $mart salary negotiation workshop attendees’ “aha!” moments that keep me coming back as a facilitator.

“I never knew that I could look up a job’s worth on the web!”

“I always thought that negotiation was a battle of wills that I could not win. I’m surprised to learn that it can be a calm discussion about mutual benefit for employer and employee.”

“Aha! It’s not about me. It’s about a job — and it has a fair-market value.”

$tart $mart, a collaboration between AAUW and the WAGE Project, is real-time, boots-on-the-ground empowerment of college women. The program teaches them solid compensation benchmarking and negotiation skills to close gender-based pay gaps — starting with their first jobs after graduation. Eyes aglow and mouths agape with new and surprising knowledge, workshop attendees renew my vigor for the fight for fair pay.

I became a certified $tart $mart facilitator at a training at the 2009 AAUW National Convention in St. Louis. After seeing the workshop’s content, I wished I’d learned those skills many years ago. Since then, I’ve transferred the negotiation skills to interpersonal relationships, business contract negotiations, and a car purchase. And I continue to assist with the $tart $mart initiative in Colorado, where we now have a cadre of 13 certified facilitators.

Early on, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado purchased a $tart $mart semester license for the University of Denver. Later, the AAUW student organization at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, bought a license for their campus. But a tough higher-education budget crunch precluded hosting $tart $mart workshops on most campuses in our state. The time came for out-of-the-box thinking.

After seeing the value of $tart $mart and wanting to train as many Colorado college women as possible, the AAUW of Colorado Board of Directors voted to purchase a three-year license for Metropolitan State College of Denver, one of Colorado’s seven AAUW college/university partner members. Under the deal we struck, Metro State serves as the centrally located host campus, and all students who attend Colorado colleges and universities are eligible to participate. We’re three semesters into our $tart $mart project, and we have taught women from several different campuses. Attendees have spread the word back home, which has prompted a few higher-education institutions to consider $tart $mart licenses for their own campuses — often with financial assistance from nearby AAUW branches.

As we approach Equal Pay Day on April 17, we as equity advocates may feel battle fatigue because the AAUW fight for equal pay has been a long one — in fact, it dates back to 1913, when AAUW researched gender-based pay disparities in the U.S. Civil Service. In 1922, AAUW called for a reclassification of the U.S. Civil Service and a repeal of salary restrictions in the Women’s Bureau. In 1955, we backed the first federal legislative proposal for pay equity — a bill introduced by Reps. Edith Green (D-OR) and Edith Rogers (R-MA) that required “equal pay for work of comparable value requiring comparable skills.” We then advocated for passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and a swath of state-level fair pay and wage transparency bills. We were instrumental in securing the 2009 passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored the spirit of U.S. pay discrimination laws after a wrongheaded 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision. And today, we continue to press for the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act to close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act.

Need to get your second wind? Get involved with the $tart $mart salary negotiation workshop initiative as a facilitator, campus recruiter, or funder. Let attendees’ “aha!” moments fire up your fervor for fair pay!

This post was written by AAUW Director-at-Large Amy Blackwell.

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My first internship was not very glamorous. At the volunteer-run Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, I did countless hours of data entry. My main job, which I spent about 60 hours doing, was entering volunteers’ information into a new computer program. Transferring the information from hundreds of paper documents to the online system was tedious, time-consuming, and boring. But surprisingly, it was important.

My experience as an intern was similar to that of many high school and college students who start out volunteering and interning at nonprofits and other organizations. Often they are stuck doing busy work — making copies, typing, and answering phones. It is easy to get frustrated by that work, but one of the best lessons I ever learned is that every job matters.

It is imperative to realize that even the most mundane tasks help an organization’s mission and propel it toward reaching its goals. Think of those small jobs as the building blocks of the foundation of the organization. Groups like AAUW could never lobby Congress, have programs like $tart $mart, or publish Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School without individuals fact checking, calling for donations, or holding local branch meetings. Changing the world is a collaborative mission, and every task plays an integral role in reaching that goal.

Always remember to focus on the bigger picture. Though typing for hours was difficult, in the end, having every volunteer’s information in the computer system made it easier to contact, organize, and mobilize them. This directly enabled more volunteers to go out and educate people about reproductive health issues.

So next time you are disappointed by the dull job you are assigned at your internship, remember that what you are doing is the first step toward enabling something amazing to happen.

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Samantha Abril.

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“We had no idea.”

“How can this happen?”

“I had never even thought about a pay gap before.”

These were comments made by attendees of a $tart $mart salary negotiation workshop held in October at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

The three-hour workshop, co-sponsored by AAUW and the WAGE Project and hosted by UNCW’s Women’s Studies and Resource Center, provided students with knowledge and skills to negotiate salaries and benefits in order to receive fair and realistic compensation when approaching the job market.

From résumé-writing and networking tips to basic budget planning to resources for benchmarking reasonable salaries and benefits, students gained a head start on entering the workforce.

The 30 student participants ranged in age from 19 to over 40. They came from across academic disciplines and from diverse affiliations and ethnic groups. WSRC Director Michelle Scatton-Tessier led the workshop, and local AAUW members and resource center staff members shared their job market blunders and successes with the students.

“This was the first initiative that the local AAUW women brought to me when I stepped into [the] directorship,” Scatton-Tessier said. “[It] was their passion. They came to me with a plan and funds wanting to organize two workshops: one for facilitators and one for students. How could I say no to that? That initial conversation set the seeds for UNCW’s annual $tart $mart student workshop and brought Annie Houle from the WAGE Project to campus to train five facilitators.”

“One of the best parts [of the workshop] is that the participants are stopping by the WSRC inquiring about getting mentors, writing résumés, signing up for internships, and volunteering,” she added. “We cannot wait to see all these young women again, and their friends, at our AAUW-awarded Elect Her–Campus Women Win program, scheduled for February 25, 2012.”

This year’s workshop was funded by an AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund Campus Outreach Grant.

This blog post was written by an attendee of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, $tart $mart workshop.

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Research shows that the typical American woman misses out on $1 million in earnings over her lifetime because she lacks salary negotiation skills. The $tart $mart workshops address the gender gap in U.S. wages as well as skills and tactics for negotiating salaries. The program is the result of a partnership between AAUW and the WAGE Project (WAGE stands for Women Are Getting Even).

In 2011, the AAUW Huntsville (AL) Branch won an AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund Campus Outreach Grant for the second year in a row. Last year, we used the funds to bring The Yellow Dress, a play about dating violence, to campus. This year, we co-sponsored a $tart $mart salary negotiation workshop at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, on November 4.

Twenty-four students attended the three-hour workshop, along with 18 women from three universities who were trained as $tart $mart facilitators. The UA-Huntsville Career Development Office organized the workshop and trained four of their own faculty and staff members as facilitators. Annie Houle, national director of campus and community initiatives at the WAGE Project, conducted the workshop and the facilitator training. The Career Development Office plans to offer more $tart $mart workshops on campus tailored to particular colleges of the university. Most of the students who attended came from the colleges of business, engineering, and science, and many of them were graduate students. We hope to reach out to graduating seniors, especially those in liberal arts, by advertising future workshops through social networking channels.

More than 200 $tart $mart workshops have been offered nationwide since the project began in 2007. Houle reported on these statistics and other gender gap issues at the Huntsville Branch meeting on the day after the workshop. For more information about $tart $mart, visit the AAUW website.

This blog post was written by Rose Norman, AAUW Huntsville (AL) Branch member and UA-Huntsville retired faculty.

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Attending a $tart $mart salary negotiation workshop at the University of Texas, Tyler, gave recent college graduate Amanda the knowledge and skills she needed to prevent herself from losing more than $250,000 over the course of her working life, the average amount women lose because of the gender wage gap.

During her junior and senior years, Amanda held an internship at a nationwide hospital chain. In March, she noticed two full-time budget analyst positions posted at the hospital. Amanda applied for one of the positions, as did a male friend of hers who had no prior experience with the organization. In April, she was called in for an interview with her supervising manager and subsequently with the chief financial officer, where she successfully expanded on her education, skills, and her valuable internship experience with the organization.

Amanda received a job offer within 48 hours. Her friend also received an offer but decided to decline it. Fortunately for Amanda, her friend shared with her the amount of money he was offered for the job. Imagine her surprise when she realized her offer was well below her male friend’s! Amanda asked for her offer in writing to ensure she did not misunderstand, and it confirmed that she was indeed offered the lower salary amount. She took two days to decide how to proceed and asked advice from her $tart $mart facilitator.

She called her internship supervisor, who had initially interviewed her for the full-time position, to decline the offer and explain why — because of the difference between her offer and her male friend’s. Amanda ended up receiving a counter offer that was $6,100 higher than the first one. She also received an apology from her internship supervisor and from the CFO. Amanda accepted the upgraded offer and in doing so avoided losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars over her working life!

“The discussions surrounding the wage gap opened my eyes to wage discrimination and the fact that it is still prevalent in today’s society, but never did I think that I would be a victim of discrimination,” said Amanda. “As a woman, I now recognize the importance of ensuring that I have effective wage negotiation skills. My firsthand experience validated the fact that there is still wage discrimination among employers that continues to expand the wage gap.”

$tart $mart salary negotiation workshops provide college women entering the job market the knowledge and skills they need to negotiate salaries and benefits to receive fair and realistic compensation. For information on hosting a workshop in your area, see the $tart $mart Program in a Box.

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Jessica Kelly.


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Forbes released its infamous lists this past week. And while women get their own list,  the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, I’m left wondering what story this really tells us about women’s leadership in the world.

While it’s a neat idea to honor women’s accomplishments, putting women in a list by themselves could be misleading. Once you look at the World’s Most Powerful People list, you see 68 names; only seven of them are women. That’s about 10 percent. Only two of those women are from the United States, and only one works for our government: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It’s just one more disappointing illustration of the underrepresentation women have in politics and top decision-making positions in general. In addition, there is a striking imbalance across age groups. Being a younger woman myself, I appreciate Forbes taking a look at who they consider the 20 Youngest Power Women. Unfortunately, only six of them are under 40 years old. Are there really not enough women my age who are powerful? For instance, there is not a single U.S. woman politician listed on this “young” Forbes list.

Sure, we can analyze and possibly critique Forbes’ formula for determining the most powerful women in the world. But I think the story these lists point to is an even larger issue: the lack of powerful women leaders as role models. Women in the United States only make up about 17 percent of seats in Congress — less than one-fifth — even though we make up over half the population.

We need to jumpstart women’s leadership with programs like Elect Her–Campus Women Win and $tart $mart. Other groups have recognized this necessity as well, and that’s why AAUW collaborates with both Running Start and the WAGE Project to train women to run effective campaigns for student government and negotiate for equitable pay. If we can get more women to see themselves as political leaders on campus, they will be more likely to continue on in leadership positions after college. And if we can train more young women to be effective negotiators at work, they will be more likely to avoid the gender wage gap and have the confidence to ask for those promotions. By investing in these experiences in college, the next generation of women may well be named on Forbes’ list sooner rather than later.

What younger woman would you add to the World’s Most Powerful Women list?

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You can’t be what you can’t see.

This is the tagline for Miss Representation, a documentary that connects women in the media with women in leadership. At the 2011 AAUW National Convention, women leaders from every state gathered in Washington, D.C., and nodded their heads in agreement while watching the film.

Our country is far from reaching equality in women’s leadership roles: Women make up 17 percent of Congress and are merely 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs. This fact was not lost on AAUW members, but this documentary skillfully pieces together interviews from several different perspectives — political candidates, high school students, comediennes, actors, journalists, historians, and mothers — to show how this media bias is harmful to both men and women. The movie makes excellent points as it exposes patterns in portrayals of women in movies, advertisements, and news programs.

Movies: The protagonist in movies is rarely a woman. When the protagonist in a movie is a man, the plot usually revolves around a man. When the protagonist is a woman, the plot still usually revolves around a man (trying to date a man and falling in or out of love with a man). This sends a general message to viewers that women are not important. Their actions and minds should not be the center of attention, only their bodies and the men with whom they associate. This message does not encourage the idea that women can be the leaders who make decisions and move the plot along.

Advertisements: Photoshopped and objectifying ads perpetuate the focus on one type of women’s bodies rather than their minds. With so many dehumanizing ads, many young women begin to see themselves as objects and put their focus and efforts into making their bodies fit into that mold rather than concentrating on academics or professional development. The goals for women become “lose 20 pounds” rather than “get that promotion.”

News programs: The topic of women in the news is especially timely considering the candidates involved in the 2012 election. The film discusses the man-eater/ditz dichotomy and argues that no matter how a woman political candidate chooses to present herself, she is forced into a delegitimizing stereotype. Not only does the film focus on women covered in the news but also on women reporting the news. Women news anchors often cover superficial topics and must always present themselves in an extremely feminine fashion, again reinforcing the idea that it’s the body that counts, not the abilities.

How are these portrayals limiting women’s access to leadership positions? If there aren’t positive women leaders as role models in the media, it’s more difficult for girls to aspire to be one. You can’t be what you can’t see.

AAUW is doing our part to fight these patterns. The Elect Her initiative, the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, and $tart $mart salary negotiation workshops all focus on empowering women during college and give them the skills and encouragement to succeed professionally.

To continue this discussion in your community, look for a Miss Representation screening near you.

This post was written by College and University Relationships Intern Vanessa Wolbrink.

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Eighteen senior women students from Chemeketa Community College, Western Oregon University, and Willamette University participated in a $tart $mart salary negotiation workshop on April 29, 2011. This was the first one to be held in the state of Oregon.

The three-hour workshop began with information about the wage gap and its consequences, such as the cumulative loss of wages over time. Next, the students learned how to benchmark a salary. This included resources for finding the salary ranges for future jobs. The facilitator, former AAUW of Oregon President and current AAUW Leadership Corps member Mardy Stevens, worked with the group using a predetermined job title and guided them through developing a budget and calculating a minimally acceptable salary for that job title. The third part of the workshop included information about the basics of salary negotiation including tactics, strategies, and what kind of language to use. Finally, the students participated in a role-playing exercise during which they practiced the negotiation skills and strategies they learned. The workshop was very well received by the student participants. The vast majority of them agreed that they would recommend this workshop to a friend.

The AAUW Salem (OR) Branch received a $600 grant from the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund Campus Outreach Grant to organize and carry out this workshop, which was organized by four members of the branch. The organizers also represented the three campuses: Dolores Mlynarczyk and Rebecca Miller-Moe from Willamette University, Lana Tuss from Chemeketa Community College, and Mary Ellen Dello Stritto from Western Oregon University.

This post was written by AAUW of Oregon Vice President for Programs Mary Ellen Dello Stritto.

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