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The Beginning of Biases

Attitudes about female behavior start from the moment a baby is swaddled in pink. Girls experience these gender stereotypes to varying degrees throughout their childhood and they become fully institutionalized in our education system.

As soon as a girl starts school, she encounters subtle (and sometimes blatant) messages about her academic abilities and future potential. Students of color and those from low-income families face additional biases that limit their opportunity.

Even in elementary school years, girls face barriers that ultimately hinder their achievement, particularly in math and science.

These barriers are reinforced throughout middle and high school. As a result, when they enter college, women gravitate toward college majors that prepare them for lower-paying fields, and away from the STEM fields that lead to higher paying jobs.

And although women have surpassed men in earning degrees, research shows that women are disproportionally represented in 6 of the 10 lowest paying college majors, while 9 of the 10 highest-paying majors (all in the STEM fields) are dominated by men.

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Economic security for women is non-negotiable

  • Money is power, and women will never be equal to men until they achieve full parity in earnings and wealth. In recent decades, American women have made significant strides toward economic equality.

  • They make up nearly half the U.S. workforce, and two-thirds of women are their family’s primary or co- breadwinner. Yet men continue to earn more money—and accumulate more wealth—than women do.

  • The median salary for women is just 83% of the median salary for men—a figure that has barely budged over the past generation. Median earnings for American women working full time are $45,097, while men are paid $55,291.

  • Yet women make up close to 47% of the workforce, and as many as two-thirds are primary or co-breadwinners of their families.

  • This needs to change. And it’s not just women who will benefit: When women win, their families, communities and workplaces win.

  • What’s more, breaking down barriers for women will open new opportunities for everyone, regardless of gender.

Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative

AAUW is taking a multipronged approach to battling the gender wage gap. A key component is arming women with the tools and resources they need to do their part. Sign Up for a AAUW Workshop Here and learn more about select workshops below.

These workshops are designed to teach college and university students how to negotiate salaries for a new job.

This training shows early and mid-career professionals how to negotiate on their own behalf -for fair salaries, better benefits and advancement opportunities.

A program aimed at providing women with the personal finance information they need

to ensure their own

financial security.

Leadership-building events and workshops.

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