Humility is a trait that our society values. Unfortunately, it can have detrimental effects in the arena of employment. Research has shown that women are worse at correctly evaluating their value than their male colleagues and tend to underestimate their abilities. When congratulated on projects, for example, women tend to highlight the work of their team members while men tend to attribute the project’s success to their personal mastery.
Women, in turn, are less likely than men to negotiate their salaries based on what they bring to the table. The few women who do negotiate are not as successful as their male counterparts. All this contributes to a gender wage gap that can leave women standing to lose more than $500,000 over the course of their careers.
In an attempt to challenge the gender wage gap, I proposed a grant project to put on two salary negotiation workshops for women lawyers and law students in New Jersey. The workshops seek to empower women, teach them how to discover and articulate their value, and effectively negotiate for benefits that will assist them in reaching both their personal and professional goals. The workshops will unteach women this learned humility that they have been praised for all their years. It will teach them to take credit for their own amazing accomplishments and advocate for the resources and benefits that they deserve.
As a Social Justice Scholar at Rutgers, I have had the incredible support of Dean Friedman, Associate Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest. Aware of my passion for women’s issues, she was the one who reached out to me and encouraged me to apply for the grant from the New Jersey Women’s Lawyers Association that was being awarded to projects benefiting NJ women lawyers. Since executing the grant, the faculty at both Rutgers Law locations have been more than willing to support the project in every way possible. They are truly dedicated to my vision for this event and for the success of the women of Rutgers Law School as they prepare to negotiate and excel in their new legal careers.