Bold move

Boston offers free pay negotiation classes to working women

Boston, Massachusetts, Mayor Martin Walsh introduced free salary negotiation classes for all women living in the city. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Two years ago, Boston mayor Thomas Menino pledged the city would become the first in the U.S. to eliminate the gender pay gap. Menino stepped down in 2014, dying later that year of cancer, but Boston’s new mayor Marty Walsh is continuing Menino’s efforts by offering free two-hour salary negotiation classes to every woman working in the city. Economists are cynical about the practical impact of hosting the classes, citing the power of social forces and research indicating that employers are predisposed to respond negatively to women requesting higher salaries.

Studies have found that male viewers who watch men and women negotiate using the exact same words rate the men’s negotiation style positively but see the women’s style as too demanding. Other studies indicate that women negotiate as skillfully as men but negotiate less often overall. The Boston program is designed to empower women to negotiate more often, more effectively, and to accurately identify and deal with bias when it does occur. Boston women make 83 cents on the dollar compared to men; four cents higher than the national average.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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