NEW YORK, N.Y. – In a skyscraper, nearly 50 floors above a New York City, a group of women are gathering to ask for more.
“We’ve barely budged in two decades,” said Kim Churches, CEO of the American Association of University Women.
What’s barely budged are women’s salaries, still lagging far behind what men make in America.
That’s where the “Ask For More” workshop campaign is stepping in.
The American Association of University Women, along with numerous other groups, are holding free workshops across the country to teach women how to successfully negotiate a higher salary. The goal: to train 10 million women in the next three years.
“Women make up half the labor force, yet it is still is a man’s world in how workplace hiring and promotions take place,” Churches said. “And it’s on us to really change them.”
The numbers are sobering.
For every dollar a man makes, women make an average of 79 cents on the dollar. It’s even worse for minority women: African-American women make 62 cents on the dollar; Hispanic women make 54 cents.
“I found myself needing to ask for more money than I think I was getting,” said Samantha Hamidan, who is an immigration lawyer.
Hamidan came to one of the workshops in New York City, after recently trying to ask for a raise.
“I’m hoping to really be able to parlay these skills into asking for more money at the next position,” she said.
Renowned fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff founded the “ Female Founder Collective ,” linking together women-owned businesses and the products they produce. She is supporting the “Ask For More” effort and helped host one of the New York City workshops.
“I remember asking for my first raise ever was the scariest thing,” Minkoff said.
Minkoff said that although salary negotiations can feel intimidating for some, there are ways to work through it.
“I think there is a language and a technology and I think women are going to come away learning these skills they can directly apply to asking for a raise or that next stop up in salary,” Minkoff said.
Among the tips presented at the workshop: bring a list of your work accomplishments with you when you ask for a raise and learn how to find out information about similar salaries for your job.
Yet, the women leading this effort know that even when they reach their goal of training 10 million women to advocate for better pay, it is going to take a much more than a series of workshops to close the gender pay gap.
Faye Penn is director of women.nyc , which helped sponsor the latest “Ask For More” class.
“I would love it if women could negotiate away the pay gap,” Penn said, “but it’s going to take companies to be more transparent about their salaries to have more equitable practices.”
Until then, the women attending the workshop know their future salaries rest in their own hands.
If you are interested in attending one of the salary workshops near you – or want to take the class online – you can click