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Start Smart, End Inequity

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March 2017

St. Ambrose students can learn the skills to negotiate a higher salary and boost their lifetime earnings, as well as shrink the wage gap, during the third annual Start Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop.

The workshop will be held from 4-7 p.m. April 12, in the Rogalski Center ballroom at St. Ambrose University.

Start Smart workshops were created by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for college students about to enter the job market. The workshop teaches women how to negotiate salary, articulate their value, build their confidence in negotiating, improve their lifelong earning potential and sharpen their budgeting skills.

According to AAUW, women one year out of college are paid 82 percent of what their male counterparts receive. Overall, U.S. women are typically paid 80 percent of what white men are paid for the same full-time work. The gap is even higher for African American women, who earn 63 percent, and Hispanic or Latina women, who earn 54 percent.

According to the AAUW, women will likely reach pay equity with men in 2059 if the rate of change between 1960 and 2015 continues at the same pace.

The workshop will include time to network and practice salary negotiation techniques with volunteers from the Junior League and the American Association of University Women, Davenport-Bettendorf Branch. The two organizations are sponsoring the event in partnership with the SAU Career Center, Office of Intercultural Life - Department of Student Activities, and Women & Gender Studies.

Ramona Bowie-Amos, the university's intercultural life and leadership programs coordinator, said this is the third year the workshop has been held for St. Ambrose students. While a brief discussion about the gender wage gap in America will be geared towards women, the workshop will benefit all students.

Bowie-Amos said students do not realize they can negotiate salary and benefits, and it is very important for women to have the skills to do so because pay inequity has lifelong financial effects.

According to the AAUW, increasing women's pay to the level of their male counterparts could cut the poverty rate for working women in half.

The pay gap follows women when they leave the workforce. When they are paid less during working years, they receive less income from Social Security, pensions, and other sources in retirement, according to the AAUW. Disability and life insurance are also smaller for women.

Bowie-Amos said the interactive workshop will include a guidance in budget planning after graduation, as many students have little comprehension about what costs they should include in a budget, and how the cost of living depends on the area in which they choose to live.

Those who attend the three-hour workshop will get to practice their negotiation skills with professionals from the Junior League and AAUW. Registration is being capped at 40 students, and the workshop includes a pizza dinner. Click here to register for the event. 

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