AAUW Launches Initiative to Close the Pay Gap in the Nation’s Capital

April 12, 2016


Media Contact:
Lisa Goodnight,

Group Joins Forces with D.C. Mayor to Teach Women How to Negotiate

WASHINGTON — The American Association of University Women (AAUW) today announced a new collaboration with Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser; the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives; and AAUW’s Younger Women’s Task Force Washington (DC) Chapter to bring the AAUW Work Smart salary negotiation program to the District of Columbia. The announcement comes on Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day when women’s pay “catches up” to men’s pay from the previous year. Currently, there’s a 21 percent pay gap between women and men in the United States.

Over the next five years, AAUW Work Smart in D.C. will teach more than 15,000 women how to evaluate, negotiate, and articulate their worth confidently in the job market. Washington, D.C., is the second major U.S. city to collaborate with AAUW to empower women and close the gender pay gap. In Boston, AAUW has already trained 1,000 women. The first AAUW Work Smart in D.C. workshop is scheduled for April 27 at AAUW headquarters.

“AAUW has been on the front lines of the fight for equal pay for decades. We know that the pay gap is a multifaceted problem in need of a multifaceted solution — and while salary negotiation alone won’t get us there, it’s a step in the right direction,” said AAUW CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “Working with our YWTF, Mayor Bowser, and the Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives, we will help close the pay gap in our nation’s capital.”

“Equal pay is more than a women’s rights issue. It is a matter of economic security for middle-class families,” said Bowser. “When women are paid less for equal work, we all suffer. In D.C. we lead the nation in closing the gap between men and women, but it is not enough. To truly create pathways to the middle class, we need to ensure that everyone is paid equally for equal work no matter who you are.”

In 2014, women working full time in Washington, D.C., were paid just 90 percent of what men were paid. While D.C. has a smaller pay gap than all 50 states, a 10 percent gap is still far from gender parity. And for some women, the pay gap is wider. African American women working in D.C. are paid 56 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men are paid; Latina women, 50 cents; Native American women, 70 cents; and Asian American women, 75 cents.

“It is completely insulting that a woman can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of her career because she is paid less than her male co-workers. We must ask for more. Young women are still feeling the weight of student loan debt or working multiple jobs just to meet our expenses, so any gap in our pay is unacceptable,” said Kate Black, director of the YWTF D.C. chapter. “We must call out the biases and barriers that hold women back, and giving women the tools to negotiate salaries is a critical piece of progress. We are thrilled to work with Mayor Bowser and AAUW to educate and empower women in the District.”

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Lisa Goodnight By:   |   April 12, 2016