Empowering Native American women and closing the pay gap

(Editor’s note: The guest author of this post, Wendy Doyle, is president and CEO of the Women’s Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes equity and opportunity for women of all ages, using research, philanthropy and policy solutions to make meaningful change.)

In 2018, it’s still a shocking reality that women are not paid equally for equal work – nearly half a century after the passage of the Equal Pay Act. Women in the U.S. on average make just 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man, and Native American women face disparities that are even wider.

Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day, which this year falls on September 27, highlights the unacceptable fact that Native American women must work nine extra months to earn the same amount of money that men do in one year.

The gender pay gap is a complex and pressing issue, and at the Women’s Foundation, we are committed to closing it with practical solutions that get results.

In August we were proud to team up with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Travois to launch AAUW Work Smart Kansas City – the first phase of an initiative to empower one million women to successfully negotiate for the salary and benefits they deserve.

AAUW Work Smart Kansas City will help close the gender pay gap in Kansas City, where the overall gender pay ratio is 78 percent – a 22 percent gap and larger than the national average.

And because we know that Native American women face an even wider pay gap – making just 57 cents for a man’s dollar – we’re thrilled that Travois has stepped up to host these valuable pay negotiation trainings for women in this region.

As a mission-driven small business focused exclusively on promoting housing and economic development for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities, Travois is well-positioned to help empower Native American women to negotiate for higher salaries and more generous benefits that reflect the value they bring to the workplace.

These pay negotiation trainings will help women negotiate for a new job as well as for earned raises and promotions. In every two-hour workshop, participants will gain confidence in negotiation style through facilitated discussion and role-playing – while also learning a number of life-changing skills, such as:

  • How to identify and articulate your personal value
  • How to develop an arsenal of persuasive responses and other negotiation strategies, including how to get a raise or promotion
  • How to conduct objective market research to benchmark a target salary and benefits
  • About the pay gap, including its long-term consequences

Women make up 47 percent of the workforce. We outnumber men on college campuses, and recent estimates indicate that 42 percent of mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners for their families.

Equal pay for equal work shouldn’t be a lot to ask.

We’re lucky to be able to partner with organizations like Travois who are working hard to achieve economic equity for all. If you are interested in attending one of AAUW’s pay negotiation workshops, you can sign up and find more information here.

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