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Equal Pay Awareness Week in Boston looks to help women close gender pay gap

The event coincides with Equal Pay Day, when a woman's salary from the year before "catches up" with that of her male counterpart.

Women who live or work in Boston will have the opportunity to hone their salary negotiating skills with free classes this week as part of the city’s efforts to raise awareness of the gender pay gap.

Mayor Marty Walsh announced the city is launching its second Equal Pay Awareness Week, with 14 free salary negotiation workshops for women. Announced on Monday, the effort is intended to help close that gap and equip women with the skills to negotiate higher salaries.

The American Association of Universiy Women began the salary negotiation workshops in September 2015 as part of a five-year partnership with the city. The program has trained more than 3,000 working women since then, according to the mayor’s office, and hopes to train 8,500 by December 2017 and 85,000 women by 2020.

The campaign coincides with Equal Pay Day, a nationwide event created by the National Committee on Pay Equity, which will take place Tuesday. It marks the symbolic date on the calendar when a woman’s pay “catches up” to what a man earned the previous year. So, this year, it would have taken a woman 15 and a half months to earn what a man earned in 12 months in 2016.


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“Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay,” the committee’s site explains.Women working full time in the U.S. are typically paid 79 percent of what men earn, and that gap is even wider for women of color. “This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.”

The goal of Boston's awarenessweek is to “acknowledge the gender wage gap and its consequences, while providing the training and tools to help Boston women advocate for themselves within the workforce,” according the mayor’s office.

RELATED:Walsh's office aims to help bridge gender wage equality gap in Boston

"Boston thrives when women and men have an equal playing field," Walsh said in a statement.

The 14 workshops are specifically during Equal Pay Awareness Week and are in addition to workshops the AAUW offers year-round, always for free.

Find and register for a workshop at salary.aauw.org/boston.

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