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Women WAGE for equal pay

By Jessica Parks (Special to the Chronicle) The average American woman is making 77 cents to every one dollar that a man is making. The WAGE Project is making sure that “Women Are Getting Even.”

Women college graduates will earn on average $1.2 million less than men throughout their careers with the same degree, according to a study released by the American Association of University Women. This wage gap begins as early as the first job a person gets out of college.

The WAGE Project held a workshop in the Student Center on Tuesday called “$tart $mart.” This event was brought about to teach women the skills to negotiate the wages that they want and need to survive.

Women were taught how to figure out what employers are paying for the job that they want and how to negotiate their worth with the employer.

“There is a tendency of students to feel that they should accept the first job that they are offered,” said Dr. Kathryn Valerius, director of the women studies program. “Students should be their own advocates.”

Throughout the workshop, Annie Houle, national director of the WAGE Project, stressed that women need to have prepared skills to negotiate a salary. If a woman makes less money than she needs, then she will start out her career in debt. This also affects how much she is paid when she is promoted or moved onto the next job.

“I really wish I had something in college to learn about salary negotiation,” said Nayelli Perez, assistant director of the Career Center and a recent college graduate.

Houle gave the women in the workshop some online resources that can help them figure out what they should base their target salary on in the field they are pursuing.

For instance, Salary.com shows a salary range for people with the same experience in the same field. You can also change the area so there are local statistics.

Online resources make a starting point to prepare for the negotiation.

“[They] are a good go-to to put everything together,” said Perez.

Houle did not only teach students about salaries, she also taught students about how budget and benefits are important to the negotiation of the total compensation package.

A woman needs to put together a “bare-bones budget,” as Houle said. This budget is the money that needs to be put towards necessities like food, rent and utilities. Knowing her budget, a woman will know what the minimum offer it is that she can accept.

Many college students do not know much about benefits and how these can add to the compensation package. Benefits can give you the extra incentive to accept a job offer.

“It is important for students to learn about benefits that can add to the job, said Victoria Rametta, senior political science and global studies major.

This was a topic that Rametta did not learn much about from her family and from past jobs. She felt that was one of the most important things she had learned at the workshop.

It is intimidating because many students will go through salary negotiation for the first time when they are out of college, Rametta said. She said it was helpful to be more prepared for it.

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