Your AAUW Start Smart and AAUW Work Smart Questions, Answered

AAUW Start Smart and AAUW Work Smart salary negotiation workshops provide women with the knowledge and skills they need to negotiate their salaries and benefits. Below are some of our most frequently asked questions about these programs.

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Why is salary negotiation necessary? Aren’t women paid the same as their male peers are?

In 2014, women working full time, year round were paid 79 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 21 percent. The pay gap is even worse for women of color, with African American women paid 63 percent of what men are paid and Latinas just 54 percent. Asian American women’s salaries show the smallest gender pay gap, taking home 90 percent of white men’s earnings. We encourage you to refer to AAUW’s Graduating to a Pay Gap and The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap for a deeper dive into the pay gap. You can also get pay gap numbers for your state and congressional district.

What is the difference between AAUW Start Smart and AAUW Work Smart?

Both two-hour workshops teach participants strategies and techniques for salary negotiation, and in both workshops participants gain valuable skills they can use throughout their lives. The main difference is in audience. AAUW Start Smart is specifically designed for college students who are about to enter the job market, and it emphasizes how to create personal budget. AAUW Work Smart is for working women of any age or career level, and it teaches participants objective research and benchmarking skills to use when negotiating for raises and promotions.

What topics do AAUW Start Smart and AAUW Work Smart workshops cover?

In every two-hour workshop, participants can expect to

  • Understand the consequences of the gender wage gap
  • Be able to identify the steps of salary and benefits negotiation
  • Develop a budget (AAUW Start Smart only) and set a target salary and benefits
  • Practice negotiation techniques in role-play exercises
  • Feel confident in their ability to articulate their value and negotiate a fair and equitable salary and benefits

How long is the workshop?

Each workshop takes approximately two hours.

How many participants can attend each workshop?

We recommend an audience of between 10 and 40 participants in order to maintain an interactive group dynamic.

What sets AAUW’s Start Smart and Work Smart programs apart from other salary negotiation trainings?

AAUW’s salary negotiation programs are the only workshops designed to empower participants to take action on closing the gender wage gap, in addition to providing tangible and transferrable skills for a lifetime. The comprehensive workshops provide detailed skill development, are grounded in research, and build on AAUW’s many years of success and expertise in the field.

What does it cost?


    • First-time, single workshop
      $650 ($550*)
    • Subsequent single workshop
      $350 ($300*)
    • Three-year license, unlimited workshops
      $1,750 ($1,500*)

(*AAUW C/U partner member discount)


      • First-time, single workshop
        $1,000 ($850*)
      • Subsequent single workshop
        $850 ($750*)

(*AAUW branch and YWTF chapter discount)

Discounts for C/U partners, AAUW branches, and volume pricing are available, in addition to combination licenses for both AAUW Start Smart and AAUW Work Smart.

What if I want to offer salary negotiation workshops on a regular basis?

A license is available for colleges and universities that want to provide unlimited AAUW Start Smart workshops for three academic years (for pricing, see above). The campus receives unlimited access to materials for the workshops and becomes part of a growing community of other three-year license holder. Additionally, three staff members or colleagues will be trained as workshop facilitators at no charge. Three-year licenses are only available at this time to academic institutions, but volume pricing for AAUW Work Smart is available to all interested groups. For details contact

Is there a cancellation fee?

If, for any reason, the AAUW Start Smart or AAUW Work Smart workshop is canceled less than 30 days before the scheduled date, the workshop sponsor will be charged 50 percent of the workshop fee and any other costs incurred in preparation for the workshop.

What are the responsibilities of an AAUW salary negotiation facilitator?

Salary negotiation facilitators are volunteers who present AAUW Start Smart and AAUW Work Smart salary negotiation workshops. Anyone may attend one of our live facilitator training webinars to become an official AAUW salary negotiation facilitator. This training prepares facilitators to present both workshops. To remain in good standing, each AAUW fiscal year, facilitators must facilitate at least one workshop and attend a refresher webinar.

How much does facilitator training cost?

The AAUW salary negotiation facilitator training is free for all individual AAUW members (national, branch, and Younger Women’s Task Force). The fee for non-AAUW members is $50. This fee covers the cost of the training itself, the facilitator guide and related materials, and ongoing coaching by AAUW. Additionally, AAUW Start Smart three-year licenses include three free facilitator trainings.

What are the responsibilities of an AAUW salary negotiation ambassador?

Salary negotiation ambassadors are dedicated individuals who communicate with local campuses and organizations to promote workshops in their region. We rely on their commitment and outreach efforts to build new relationships and increase our workshops’ reach. If you are interested in becoming an ambassador, sign up for a training today.

How can I be involved in Start Smart and AAUW Work Smart as an AAUW member?

As an AAUW member, you have multiple ways to get involved in the salary negotiation programs:

As an AAUW member, how can I use this program to build connections with colleges, universities, and students?

When recruiting campuses to host an AAUW Start Smart campus workshop, you can encourage them to join AAUW as college/university partner members. Remind schools of all the membership benefits for their faculty and students. By bringing this workshop to a campus or by becoming a salary negotiation facilitator yourself, you can also build connections with individual students and tell them how to get involved with AAUW.

How accurate is the data used in the workshop?

The workshops include gender pay gap research from AAUW’s annually updated research report The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, along with the latest salary negotiation techniques and strategies. Additionally,, which supplies AAUW Start Smart and AAUW Work Smart’s salary information, updates its data every month with information provided by employers for a specific job title.

I want to do a large community effort to close the wage gap. Can you help with that?

The communities that have launched the biggest pay gap initiatives did so by working together. We can help you make that kind of impact. AAUW staff members are currently working with several communities and cities to train thousands of women in salary negotiation. AAUW staff collaborates with AAUW branches and chapters, local nonprofits, and other organizations and entities to help establish equal pay initiatives that reach far beyond a single workshop. This includes technical assistance as you promote workshops in your community and raise your community’s consciousness about this issue. For more information, please e-mail
Consider recruiting campuses in your community that are already AAUW college/university partner members. Each C/U member has a campus representative who can be your first point of contact. To obtain the contact information for this campus representative, please e-mail or call 800.326.AAUW. Other potential campus contacts for this program might include the women’s center, the student affairs department, the student life center, and the career center.

What is AAUW Work Smart in Boston?

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, and AAUW have joined forces in an initiative aiming to make Boston the first city to close the gender wage gap. To help accomplish this, we are implementing a large-scale, grassroots program to provide AAUW Work Smart salary negotiation workshops to 85,000 women — at least half of Boston’s working women — in the next five years.

Learn more about AAUW Work Smart in Boston.

What are the benefits of closing the wage gap?

Equal pay is not simply a women’s issue; it’s a family issue. When women are paid fairly, they and their families have economic security in the short term and stronger retirement savings and social security payments in the long term. Women and their families can better afford to invest in their education, pay off student loans and other debt, and afford the necessities of life.

Have additional questions? Contact us at

Jesse Rauch By: