AAUW Announces Acquisition of Start Smart and Work Smart

September 04, 2014

Two women college students practice salary negotiation skills during a Start Smart workshop on their campus.

The gender pay gap can shortchange the average woman by a couple thousand dollars just one year out of college. And the damage only gets worse over the course of a career.

Making systemic changes for fair pay takes time — and AAUW is proud to be working on the issue. But we also want to give women the tools to empower themselves right now. That’s why AAUW is excited to announce our acquisition of the WAGE Project’s signature programs, Start Smart and Work Smart. These workshops empower college and professional women to negotiate better salaries and benefits.

“We have seen the contribution these workshops can make to the paychecks of women in their working lives,” said AAUW CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “Our members are eager to deliver the workshops throughout the country. Tapping the energy and commitment of our members and supporters, AAUW intends to lead American women to wage equity.”

By teaching women how to negotiate for equitable pay and appropriate benefits for both short- and long-term economic security, these programs allow women to take individual action to help diminish the unexplained wage gap. AAUW’s acquisition will build on an excellent foundation of proven results and success.

  • Before attending the Start Smart workshop, only 25 percent of attendees said they were confident they could negotiate for the salary and benefits that match their education and experience. That number skyrocketed to 91 percent upon completion of the workshop.
  • Start Smart has grown from 31 workshops in 2008 to more than 740 workshops at 336 colleges, community colleges, and universities across the country.
  • Start Smart is in all but one of the 50 United States, and more than 1,100 facilitators are trained to lead workshops.

AAUW volunteers have already brought $tart $mart to many campuses, and it has been a game-changer for college women. We believe that Work Smart, a salary negotiation workshop for women who are already in the workforce, has the same kind of potential. AAUW looks forward to markedly expanding the delivery of these workshops as part of our work to close the wage gap.

As we explore how to best leverage these two powerful programs, their daily operations will continue without interruption. Currently scheduled workshops and all licenses will still receive top-quality support. The WAGE Project’s two staff, Annie Houle and Dorrie Sieburg, have become AAUW staff to continue the same level of expertise for $tart $mart. Evelyn Murphy, founder of the WAGE Project and designer of these workshops, will serve as a consultant to AAUW during the transition of Work Smart.

We’re grateful for the support and hard work of AAUW members, facilitators, campus professionals, and volunteers. You have been critical to the success of these programs. We hope this expansion is an opportunity to leverage that success and empower women at work.


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