National Organization Empowers Women to Demand What They Are Worth, Help Close Gender Pay Gap

A national organization is empowering women to demand what they are worth and help close the gender pay gap. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

Sindy Polubothu was recently offered a new job, but the salary her future employer initially offered wouldn't do.

She had done her homework and knew employees with like experience in her field made more, so she negotiated her pay. It's a move that paid off, but it's one many women don't take.

"A lot of women probably think, 'This is what it is. This is the deal,' and not, like, want to push it," Polubothu said.

That might have been Polubothu before she began working with the Association of American University Women, or AAUW. The organization advocates for equal opportunities for women and educates them on how to empower themselves financially.

"To negotiate your first salary is to really set up your economic future," said Jennifer Mayfield of AAUW. "From your first paycheck, you're setting up the, sort of landscape."

It's information AAUW says is especially important for young women, who their studies show fare better than the national average of making 78 cents for every dollar men make. The organization found, though, that over time, that statistic changes.

"They start out on average, nationally on average earning about 90 cents to the dollar that males earn, but then once they hit 35, the wage gap starts to increase dramatically," Mayfield said.

The common misconception is that women taking time off for children accounts for the difference, but AAUW says that's just part of the story.

"Right now, a majority of private firms in the U.S. have either formal or informal policies to discourage people from discussing salary and benefit packages, which hurts because then women may not realize that they're being underpaid," Mayfield said.

AAUW is pushing for federal legislation that would call for more transparency, ultimately giving more women the power to succeed. 

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