Women’s Resource Center held financial workshop
The Women’s Resource Center discussed how to benchmark starting salaries and negotiate fair wages at the “Start Smart” workshop on Friday. The event was geared toward women and discussed the pay gap between men and women.
WRC director Beverly A. McPhail and program coordinator Malkia Hutchinson hosted the workshop. Sponsors included the UH Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, the Friends of Women’s Studies, the American Association of University Women and Women Are Getting Even.
“The goal was to prepare students to enter the workforce after they graduate,” McPhail said. “The biggest issue is letting women know there is a pay gap and that they could potentially lose over a million dollars (compared to) a male who graduates with the same degree and credentials.”
McPhail said that for every dollar a man earns, the average woman makes 77 cents — and that the gap can be widened by race.
“Research has shown young women aren’t as skilled as young men at negotiating initial salaries,” McPhail said. “We wanted to explain how to do the research required (to) negotiate and to help develop the skills to negotiate that first salary after graduation.”
“Although we would have been glad to have men attend as well, because men also have to negotiate in the workforce.”
The workshop is part of the WAGE movement in its efforts to ensure women get paid fairly. The workshop is a collaboration developed by WAGE and AAUW that is taught to universities across the U.S.
“This is the first time we ourselves have presented this workshop,” McPhail said. “The first two times, each semester last year, (WAGE) came themselves and presented it. However, we’ve been trained to do it now, and so we have the ability to teach it every semester.”
The workshop involved a role play at the end where students got into pairs. One would pretend to be a human resources manager and the other a prospective employee.
“The role play was an excellent exercise,” said sociology graduate Dipabli Saha. “It made us look at the real life scenario. It’s simple to say, ‘I can do this or that,’ but once you’re put on the spot, immediately, things get put into perspective. When I was playing the employer, I took several things into account I normally wouldn’t.”
Overall, the workshop addressed many issues, served its purpose and may have even reached further.
“I would absolutely recommend this workshop to anyone else,” Saha said. “Although I feel gaining and negotiating employment is more of an (personal) issue, anyone from any gender and confidence level could benefit from this workshop. It’s also not just about learning, but about meeting new people and making connections.”