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MCLA Students Headed to Girls Inc. Friday to Help Build Negotiation Skills

04/10/2013

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Three students from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will head to Girls Inc. at the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center in Pittsfield this Friday to present workshops aimed to help girls build their negotiation skills.

The project, part of a series of efforts directed toward the topic of pay equity for women, is funded by the American Association of University Women's (AAUW) Campus Action Project (CAP), through a $5,000 grant MCLA received from the AAUW.

According to OjaeMichal Beale of MCLA's Women's Center, who is overseeing the project, the College wanted to work with community-based organizations that serve girls to raise awareness around the issue of the gender pay gap, negotiation skills and to empower them with the awareness that they have agency.

"Research shows that women and girls are less likely to negotiate across life experiences, such as a mortgage or the price of a car," Beale said. "Because girls don't learn at an early age that they have agency in the negotiation process, they tend to carry that socialization into their adult lives.

"The idea is, if they become more comfortable across their lifespan, by the time they're sitting in front of a potential employer for a first job, they're going to want to be part of the process of negotiating their salary," Beale continued. "This workshop is focusing on creating a foundation, and introducing this idea of 'win-win' and negotiating to young girls."

According to Skyla Seamans '13, who will facilitate the Girls Inc. workshop along with Carrisa Sacherski '15, it is crucial that young women to learn the power of negotiation.

"In our society, girls are socialized to be passive and compliant while men are taught to be the aggressors. Although this generalization does not apply to everyone, it is important to teach girls at a young age that their voices matter and that they have the ability and right to ask for what they want."

Seamans continued, "Since we have been spreading awareness about the wage gap all semester at MCLA, I think it is time to expand our scope and talk to the young girls of our future. Girls Inc. is a great place to start."

After participating in the workshop, each of the 27 girls who will take part will receive a "win-win" patch developed by the Girl Scouts of America, which acknowledges they have completed this learning unit on negotiation.

For more information, go to www.mcla.edu .