MSU hosts Start Smart Workshop, focuses on salary negotiation for women

A Start Smart workshop was held at MSU on Saturday Feb. 1. The aim of Start Smart Workshops are to teach college women about salary negotiation for employment after graduation. Various issues are covered, such as, how the gender gap affects college women, how to create a personal budget that determines salary needs, and how to negotiate for their first salary out of college.The workshop encompass women of all professions, ensuring that they will be equipped with the proper knowledge for salary negotiation regardless of the field they pursue.

The workshop was sponsored by ASMSU, the MSU Women’s Center, American Association of University Women (AAUW), the MSU Diversity Awareness Office and MSU Career Services. The program focuses on pay equity, which is a prevalent issue in Montana, as women earn 33 percent less than what men earn, making Montana 39th in the nation for pay equity.

In the US, 225 campuses have held Smart Start workshops and Montana is the third-to-last state host one.

Rachel Harrington, a senior majoring in graphic design and business marketing found the workshop valuable. Harrington learned about the Start Smart Workshop through an email that was sent to all females in the College of Business. The event was convenient for her because it only lasted three hours and did not require a large level of commitment.

Harrington believes more female students should take advantage of the program. “It was a super positive experience and I think it should be something every woman has to do.”

Lexie Kambich, a junior majoring in biochemistry, was motivated to attend the program after watching her mother fight the battle for equal pay. She enjoyed the activities that they did throughout the workshop and found them enlightening. “We did a role playing exercise where someone was the employer and someone was the employee, it was super helpful because I had never realized how difficult it was for the employer to negotiate salary,” Kambich said.

A related event, The Montana Equal Pay Summit, will take place on April 1. This free event will be held in the SUB Ballroom A. The focus of the Summit is similar to that of the Start Smart Workshop and will focus on gender pay equity and employment opportunities in Montana.