Women working full time in the United States typically are paid just 80 percent of what men are paid, according to an American Association of University Women analysis last fall. The national women’s organization based its findings on newly released U.S. Census Bureau data.

At the current rate of progress in closing the gap, women will not receive pay equity until the year 2119. Prior AAUW analysis found that even when accounting for education, occupation, hours worked and other factors, women still earned seven percent less than men. Researchers claim gender discrimination is a significant cause of the pay gap.

“While there has been recent progress, in fits and spurts, in states across the country, our landscape has been the status quo,” said AAUW Chief Executive Officer Kimberly Churches. “Women and families can’t afford to face another day of the financial insecurity caused by unequal pay. That’s why AAUW is taking the fight for fair pay to every level of government, employers and employees and backing it up with our in-depth research and practical solutions for closing the gap once and for all.”

April 10 is National Equal Pay Day — an annual event held to call attention to a gender pay gap that starts just one year out of college, with women making 82 cents to a man’s dollar, according to AAUW, which regularly surveys national salaries.

“It’s easy to look at these numbers and instantly become depressed,” noted Churches. “But AAUW will continue the drumbeat of equal pay even if Congress and the Trump administration take steps backward on this issue. We’re logging win after win in states by challenging and collaborating with policymakers to take steps toward strong equal pay legislation.

 “Additionally, we are empowering women to expertly negotiate their salary through our salary negotiation workshops, along with working with private- and public-sector employers on how to ensure women are better represented in positions of leadership.

 “At the end of the day, diversity is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for a company’s bottom line and our economy as a whole. Without action to close the gender and racial pay gap, unequal pay will be a stark reality for women and families for the indeterminate future. And that’s a scenario we refuse to accept,” Churches said.

In addition to its advocacy work, AAUW has established two training programs aimed at entry-level employees and those already in the workplace.

AAUW Start Smart is designed for college women who are approaching the job market. It focuses on helping these women negotiate salaries for a new job. AAUW Work Smart is an interactive program designed for women who are already in the workforce at any career level. The program helps women develop the skills to negotiate a new job, raise or promotion.

Go online to www.aauw-ca.org to learn more about the program, or to locate a scheduled presentation in California.

Brenda Haskell, president of the Bakersfield chapter of the American Association of University Women, said the local group hopes to work with Cal State Bakersfield and other organizations to bring pay equity and negotiation programs to women in Bakersfield.

To obtain additional information about the AAUW’s Start Smart and Work Smart programs, as well as helping organize Bakersfield presentations, email Haskell at bhaskell2680@gmail.com.