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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