Self Worth + Self Advocacy: Ashford Alum Leads Gender Pay Gap Workshop

Self Worth + Self Advocacy: Ashford Alum Leads Gender Pay Gap Workshop

Have you ever thought, “I just need to work harder, and then I’ll be noticed,” but continue to feel you are not seen or rewarded for your worth? Are you great at advocating for others and social justice issues, but not for yourself? Do you feel anxious about asking for your worth? March is Women’s History Month, and in honor of this important celebration, on April 11, Ashford University will host Self Worth + Self Advocacy, a workshop that will help attendees navigate these challenging waters, and to think critically about a contemporary issue with historical roots: the gender pay gap. 

What is the Gender Pay Gap?

According to research conducted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the gender pay gap is real, it disproportionately affects women of color, it exists across nearly all parts of the United States, and it affects every demographic (2018). Despite the fact that today women make up nearly half the workforce, women earn, on average, .80 cents for every $1 a man earns, and the effects of the pay gap continue to be harmful to women’s economic security.

AAUW’s research demonstrates that by closing the pay gap, the poverty rate for working women would be cut in half and more than 2.5 million children would be lifted from poverty. In addition to policy recommendations, the AAUW recommends that individual women can work to increase their own salaries by learning salary negotiation skills. 

Why Should I Self Advocate?

Understanding the impact of the gender pay gap and leaning into the hard work of learning self-advocacy is an act of social justice. Self-advocacy is a mechanism for power and control over one’s life, according to Dr. Juan Camarena, marriage and family therapist and professor of counseling at San Diego State University. 

“The need for status, power, and control seem universal in families and organizations, but having influence in these systems comes from a maintaining a solid sense of self,” she says (as cited in Fitch & Van Brunt, 2016).” 

While the reasons for resisting salary negotiation and self-advocacy are varied, leaning into the practice can have important impacts on individuals, their families, and communities. Self-advocacy transcends work and pay, it seeps into everything we do, think, approach, and avoid. If you are a great champion of others but struggle to advocate for yourself, the Self Worth + Self Advocacy workshop will help you learn how to elegantly and ethically ask for what you deserve and stop waiting to be noticed or seen. 

What Will I Learn?

Hosted by Ashford’s Student Affairs and Career Services, the Self Worth + Self Advocacy workshop will be led by Ashford alumna and entrepreneur Skyler McCurine and Equal Pay Expert Ann Marie Houghtailing. With an emphasis on a mission to change the face of leadership, the two-hour interactive workshop hopes to empower attendees to:

  • Debunk beliefs that that are impeding advancement
  • Ask for pay advancement with elegance
  • Prepare for hard conversations with management as well as in personal relationships
  • Build self-accountability

In addition, Houghtailing will illustrate the art of understanding negotiation as a form of social activism and will activate and empower attendees. 

The intersection between self-worth and self-advocacy couldn’t be clearer. If you want to advance your financial legacy for yourself, your family, and your community, the Self Worth + Self Advocacy workshop will teach you how to learn the critical skills of self-advocacy through negotiation. Watch this video message from McCurine to learn more about the workshop, then purchase your registration for the workshop.


Written by Poppy Fitch, EdD, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, ADA/Title IX Coordinator at Ashford University, and Skyler McCurine, MBA, Owner, Le Red Balloon

Fitch, P., Van Brunt, B. (2016). A Guide to Leadership and Management in Higher Education. New York: Routledge,

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