The American Association of University Women is expanding its AAUW Work Smart program to Kansas City. Its goal: Close the gender pay gap by training 1 million women across Kansas and Missouri in salary and benefits negotiation.
Earlier in the month, the American Association of University Women announced the expansion of its AAUW Work Smart program in Kansas City. The program, which debuted in Boston in 2015, “empowers women to negotiate their salaries effectively and powerfully,” according to AAUW Senior Vice President of Communications and External Relations Laura Segall.
“In doing research, we discovered that men negotiate four times more than women for salaries, and there is still a lot of bias and lag in that part of addressing the pay equity gap,” Segall said.
Following the program’s success in Boston and other cities across the country, including Washington, DC, and Tempe, Arizona, AAUW CEO Kimberly Churches last year announced the organization’s commitment to train 10 million women in salary and benefits negotiation by 2022. This latest push in Kansas City will play an important role in reaching this goal, as AAUW hopes to instruct 1 million women across both Kansas and Missouri.
The gender pay gap in both states highlights the needs for such a program. Currently, in Missouri, women earn 78 cents for every dollar men are paid, and in Kansas, a woman is paid 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.
In addition to training hundreds of facilitators in both states to host workshops, AAUW has created an online course on salary negotiation. The Kansas City-based Women’s Foundation and Kansas City Mayor Sly James are partnering with AAUW on both funding the program and getting the word out about it.
“We had been working with [the Women’s Foundation] in different ways, and they expressed interest as a lead partner, as well as the leadership of Mayor James, as one of the most prominent and outspoken advocates for pay equity in the country, so a lot of the stars aligned to make this exciting opportunity,” Segall said.
In addition, AAUW recently released its newest strategic plan, which focuses on fostering the economic security, education, and leadership of women. Segall said that while AAUW Work Smart lives out the association’s commitment across all these strategic priorities, it has a particular focus on economic security.
“AAUW has actually been putting out studies on the pay gap since the late 1800s, so it’s really core to mission and something that has been part of our legacy as well,” she said. “It’s been something we’ve been at the forefront of—and are really doubling down on it moving forward.”