A national organization hopes to help Mississippi women negotiate better salaries with the help of an online course.
In Mississippi, a woman earned 78 cents for every one dollar a man made in 2017, according to research by the American Association of University Women. Kim Churches is the CEO. The reports compares men and women who work full time year round. The pay gap is wider for women of color. Churches says half the labor force is made up of women and the gender pay gap is hurting the economic stability of families. She says part of the problem is the federal Equal Pay Act, which hasn't been updated since 1963.
"The work place has changed in 2018. We need to ensure that we're strengthening our policies and laws at a municipal, state and federal level."
Churches says if women knew more about what their male colleagues earned they could ask for better salaries. She says some employers use a woman's past salary history to determine her future earnings instead of using qualifications. Now, Churches say they've launched a free online negotiation course at:salary.aauw.org.
"It's not just on negotiating on salary. You can also negotiate on benefits, on flexible schedules, on additional leave, on cellphone and transportation reimbursement," said Churches.
Churches says women can check websites like PayScale to find out what their wages should be based on their skills. She advices women to practice talking about their experience and value to prospective employers, so they're prepared for those discussions. Churches says Mississippi is one of two states in the country without a gender pay equity law. She says there are groups in Mississippi meeting with elected officials and employers to change that.