Women come together to speak about equality

Jane Stoever presenting at Saddleback College's gender and sexuality studies department's Start Smart workshop on Tuesday, April 10.

Jane Stoever presenting at Saddleback College’s gender and sexuality studies department’s Start Smart workshop on Tuesday, April 10.

Students, staff and community collectively join to speak up about women’s issues

Domestic violence and equal opportunity, particularly for women, was the issue that was addressed at the Start Smart Workshop located on  Saddleback College’s campus on April 10. Speakers from the American Association of University Women and Jane Stoever, the director of Domestic Violence Clinic and UCI Initiative to End Family Violence came to address women’s issues. The lecturers who presented claimed that they wanted to speak up about societal issues and teach skills on how to deal with them.

April 10 is Equal Pay Day. The educators explained that the date signifies that a white woman would have to work 465 days to make the same salary as a man would in a year. However, for women of other racial backgrounds, the date of equal pay gets extended to a later period in the year.

Dedicating their time to reach out to the youth of America, the AAUW has been partners with Saddleback since 2011 and has been orchestrating these workshops since 2012. They have already presented two workshops this year and hope to continue to build their following and share their expertise.

One of the presentation’s main concerns focused on women walking into a job interviews and not realizing that they could potentially earn more money than what an employer is offering. The workshop taught negotiation skills and different tools on how to learn how to ask for more without being scared.

“People must know their own worth when applying for a job,” said Marge Sosa, a speaker from the American Association of University Women. “We are here to teach strategic ways and skills to negotiate salaries especially for women.”

The event dedicated two hours to teaching how to ask for the right salary and explained that it is happening everyday around America. There are four different steps beginning with knowing your value, setting a target, knowing your strategy and lastly practice.

Apart from this just pertaining to women, there was another point addressed. White men make the top dollar yet the gender pay gap could still affect them.

“Men are useful counterparts for helping women,” said Laurie Jacobs, another AAUW speaker. “This is not just a women’s issue it is a family matter. Wives and daughters of men contribute to the family making, it just as unfair to them as well.”

Men are just as important attributing factors on this topic as women. Their family income decreases with the gender pay gap and with their help the AAUW explains that they have a crucial role to play in speaking up.

Stoever gave a speech at this workshop, which covered the tip of the iceberg. Going over the gender-based violence and the deep inequality in America, she shared many statistics and findings that American women face today.

“One issue is not greater than any other,” said Jane Stoever. “However domestic violence and inequality is stunning society with high rates of violence from relationships, homelessness and other oppression. The goal of this workshop is to keep the conversation going and realize what we can change in our own lives for a positive change.”

The Start Smart workshop’s main theme was centralized around the injustices that women can face in the United States. The workshop emphasized that through the spread of information and knowledge about equal opportunities and domestic violence that women face, a change can be created within multiple communities.