Wright State students present wage gap project at National Conference for College Women Student Leaders

(L-R) Malaya Davis, Margaret Murray and Elly Shellhaas pose for a picture at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.

Two Wright State University students whose project aimed at closing the wage gap for women presented their work at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL).

Margaret Murray, a graduate assistant in the Women’s Center, and Elly Shellhaas, a volunteer intern in the center, presented their Campus Action Project (CAP) Learn, Negotiate, Succeed: Educating to End the Wage Gap, a grant-funded educational campaign which they implemented on campus during the spring semester.

The Women’s Center, in partnership with the Office of Career Services, was awarded the (CAP) grant in 2012 from the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Women who are employed full time in Ohio are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an average yearly gap in wages of $10,430, according to a recent study conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families, using U.S. Census Bureau data.

“Presenting our project next to the other great projects really gave us a perspective we hadn’t had before,” said Murray. “The experience affirmed to us that we did a good job listening to our audience and tailoring our project to our specific campus, whereas other projects from other schools seemed to be more generalized.”

Murray and Shellhaas organized several events for the project, including multiple speaking events with prominent female professionals from the Dayton region, an employer panel that included several human resources representatives from area businesses, and a $tart $mart workshop.

“That’s the one we got the most questions about at the conference,” said Murray. “People asked us how well attended it was considering the size and demographics of our college. We actually got a lot of staff members at that event too.”

Malaya Davis of Elect Her—an AAUW initiative designed to encourage young women to run for student government­—also joined Murray and Shellhaas at the conference, which was held at the University of Maryland at College Park May 30 through June 1.

The conference featured two prominent keynote addresses including Rachel Simmons, who focused on the importance of cultivating and developing leadership skills in young women, and Nina Godiwalla, who talked about her experience as a young Indian woman working on Wall Street.

The conference also included breakout workshop sessions that offered topics from A Discussion of the Impact of Racial and Gender Stereotypes of Black Women in the Workplace and Leading as a Woman:  Lessons Earned in the Military, to Collaborative Problem Solving and Microaggressions, Gender, and Why It Matters.

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