KANSAS CITY – The American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Women’s Foundation today joined Mayor Sly James to announce AAUW Work Smart in Kansas City, the first phase of a large-scale initiative to help close the gender pay gap by empowering 1 million women to successfully negotiate their salary and benefits across Kansas and Missouri.
Beginning with a pilot program in the Kansas City region, AAUW ultimately aims to provide salary and benefits negotiation training through their Work Smart program to more than one-third of the women ages 18-64 in Kansas and Missouri. Once fully implemented, it will be the largest, broadest salary negotiation initiative on record.
“The gender pay gap starts just one year out of college, and the disadvantages escalate over time,” said AAUW CEO Kimberly Churches. “The AAUW Work Smart program empowers women with the skills and confidence they need to negotiate a higher salary and good benefits right out of the gate. We’re thrilled that thanks to the Women’s Foundation and partners like Mayor James we’re able to offer this training to women in the Kansas City region and kick off the largest salary negotiation initiative on record.”
While women nationwide are typically paid 80 percent of what men are paid, women in Missouri and Kansas earn just 78 cents and 77 cents respectively, for every dollar earned by a man. Women of color experience pay gaps that are far wider. Missouri has a wider pay gap than 29 other states while Kansas ranks 37th.
AAUW Work Smart first launched in Boston in 2015 and has since expanded to Washington, D.C., Tempe, Arizona, San Francisco, and Long Beach, California, as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Kansas City is the first AAUW Work Smart collaboration in the Midwest.
“Here in Kansas City we’ve worked hard to create a vibrant, diverse and inclusive economy – where everyone has a fair shot and an equal opportunity to succeed,” said Mayor Sly James. “The Work Smart Program will help build on the successful work we’ve done to break down the barriers women and underrepresented communities face, and help strengthen the financial security of families across the region.”
AAUW Work Smart in Kansas City is being launched with seed funding from the Women’s Foundation and will be offered through a combination of in-person workshops and online learning options (available starting in September 2018). The effort also includes training more than 400 individuals as facilitators in both states. The e-learning tool will also be available in Spanish in the coming months.
The initiative will help to close the gender pay gap, improving the lives of women and their families, increasing consumer spending with local businesses, and increasing local, county, and state tax revenue.
“Women in Kansas and Missouri are still making less than 80 cents of what men are paid – a pay gap that robs them of a small fortune over their lifetimes,” said Wendy Doyle, Women’s Foundation President & CEO. “AAUW’s Work Smart initiative complements the work we’ve done to educate employers and policymakers through our Pay Equity Best Practices, and we’re proud to help bring this valuable resource to the Kansas City region. We thank Mayor James for his partnership and commitment to empowering women and breaking down the barriers to economic opportunity.”
AAUW Work Smart Kansas City builds on efforts by the Women’s Foundation and Mayor James to empower women and break down the barriers that hold them back. In 2015, the Mayor unveiled city government’s blueprint for women’s empowerment, culminating a five-month-long collaboration between the Mayor’s Office, Central Exchange, the Women’s Foundation, and UMKC’s Women’s Center. Earlier this year, Women’s Foundation and the Office of Mayor Sly James were recognized for their collaborative work to increase diversity on local boards and commissions through the Appointments Project.
For more information, interested participants can visit: salary.aauw.org/KSMO