AAUW and Washington, D.C., Mayor Collaborate to Close the Gender Pay Gap

April 12, 2016

AAUW is working hard on many fronts to close the gender pay gap. A key effort is empowering women to know their professional worth and encouraging them to learn how to negotiate for a fair salary. We’re proud to announce our collaboration with District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives, and the Younger Women’s Task Force Washington (DC) Chapter to bring our salary negotiation program, AAUW Work Smart, to the nation’s capital. Coming on the heels of our collaboration with Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, AAUW Work Smart in D.C. marks the second major U.S. city collaboration to empower women and close the gender pay gap.

Negotiating a salary can make a real difference in earnings, and men are more likely than women to negotiate their salaries. According to AAUW’s research, women face the pay gap as soon as they graduate college, and the gap only increases as women age. AAUW’s salary negotiation programs, which have already reached thousands of college students and working women nationwide, are designed to empower women with the skills and confidence they need to successfully negotiate salary and benefits packages. Our curriculum teaches women how to be objective, persuasive, and strategic in their negotiations.

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The gender pay gap is real, it hurts women and families, and it won’t go away on its own. In 2014, women working full time in Washington, D.C., were typically paid just 90 percent of what men were paid. While this makes for the smallest gender pay gap among the 50 states, a 10 percent gap is still far from gender parity.

What’s more, D.C.’s gender pay gap becomes a gaping hole when you break the data down by race. African American women working in the nation’s capital are paid 56 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men are paid; for Latina women, it’s 50 cents; for Native American women, it’s 70 cents; and for Asian American women, it’s 75 cents. AAUW Work Smart in D.C. will be available to everyone, but there will be special emphasis on hosting workshops in areas of the city that will reach low-income women and women of color. (The first workshop will take place April 27. Register now.)

AAUW has been on the front lines of the fight for equal pay for decades. We know the pay gap is a multifaceted problem in need of multifaceted solutions — and while salary negotiation alone won’t get us there, it’s a step in the right direction. We’re working hard on Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the country to pass legislation that will close the gender pay gap. We’re also urging CEOs to proactively address the gap in their own companies and encouraging bosses to address their biases. As we continue to fight for the structural changes that women need, programs like AAUW Work Smart in D.C. and AAUW Work Smart in Boston provide tools for women to begin improving their lives today.

Through AAUW Work Smart in D.C., our capital will become a nationwide model. More important, the women who attend AAUW Work Smart in D.C. will start to see the benefits in their paychecks. They will feel better knowing that their families are getting their fair share and that their daughters are growing up in a city that cares about them. Closing the gender pay gap isn’t just doing good; it’s good for business. When people believe they are paid fairly, they tend to be more productive workers. Fair pay policies also help attract and retain the best workers.

By working with Bowser, the Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives, and YWTF, we will help close the pay gap in Washington, D.C. — and with your help we will close the gender pay gap across the United States.

Learn more about AAUW Work Smart in D.C.

Not in Washington, D.C.? You can bring an AAUW Start Smart or AAUW Work Smart salary negotiation workshop to students on your local campus or working women in your community. Learn more about these two-hour salary negotiation workshops and how the gender pay gap affects you.


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In a collaboration with Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, AAUW Work Smart salary negotiation workshops will reach 85,000 women — at least half of Boston’s working women — in the next five years.

Renee Davidson By:   |   April 12, 2016