Good Life

AAUW State College workshop to address gender pay gap

Celebrating its 100th year as a branch in 2016, AAUW State College is part of a nationwide network of close to 1,000 branches that are dedicated to advancing equity for women and girls. Through the branch’s programming, it has addressed women in the workplace for most of its existence.

In Pennsylvania, on average, women who work full time earn about 79 cents for every dollar a full-time male worker earns.

Nationwide, April 12 is Equal Pay Day, a day that raises awareness about the pay gap between men and women.

To help level the playing field between men and women in the workplace, AAUW State College Branch is sponsoring “Negotiating Your Worth — In Light of the Gender Gap,” a free workshop, specifically designed for early- and mid-level career women. It will provide valuable tools for communicating your worth to your employer.

When women identify what they want in the workplace and develop or hone their skills, they can negotiate their “worth” in a job. At the same time, employers have a responsibility to review salaries with an eye for a “gap” and work to eliminate them.

The workshop will be held 6-7:30 p.m. April 21 in Schlow Centre Region Library. Workshop reservations are required, and are requested by Friday. To attend, contact Connie Schroeder at connie schroeder@gmail.com.

This spring, the national organization of AAUW issued “The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap,” a report that explains the pay gap in the United States. Some key excerpts from this report are shared below. To access the entire report, visit www.aauw. org/research/the-simple- truth-about-the-gender- pay-gap/.

▪ Over a lifetime, the total estimated loss of earnings of women compared with men are $700,000 for a high school graduate, $1.2 million for a college graduate and $2 million for a professional school graduate. The pay gap exists, persists across all racial and ethnic groups and it is found in every state. In 2013, among full-time workers, Hispanic, American Indian, African American and Native Hawaiian women had lower median annual earnings compared with non-Hispanic white and Asian American women.

▪ The AAUW is a leader in the fight to end wage discrimination and open doors for women in the workplace. Job creation and economic opportunity are critical issues for women, many of whom continue to struggle with economic insecurity and wage discrimination.

▪ Pay equity is not just a matter of fairness, but the key to families making ends meet. Wage discrimination also limits women’s choices and has real consequences. It impairs their ability to buy homes and pay for a college education and limits their total lifetime earnings, thereby reducing their retirement savings and benefits.

▪ Congressional action to help close the gender pay gap is needed. The Paycheck Fairness Act would expand the scope of the Equal Pay Act with incentives for employers to follow the law, strengthen penalties for violations, enhance federal efforts and prohibit retaliation against workers asking about wage practices.

The Fair Pay Act would require employers to provide equal pay for work of equal value, whether or not the jobs are the same. This legislation addresses equal pay for women working in female-dominated jobs equivalent to jobs traditionally dominated by men.

The legislation would ban retaliation, require employers to file wage information with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, eliminate the “gag rule” on wage disclosure, and prohibit employers from reducing wages to comply with pay equity requirements. AAUW continues to advocate for strong pay equity legislation, regulation, and enforcement to protect employees and assist employers.

Billie Willits is AAUW State College co-president and Connie Schroeder is AAUW State College program co-vice president.

IF YOU GO

What: “Negotiating Your Worth” workshop

When: 6-7:30 p.m. April 21

Where: Schlow Centre Region Library, 211 S. Allen St., State College

Info: www.aauw.org/research/the- simple-truth-about-the- gender-pay-gap/

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