Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



This report is a case study, not an evaluation. Its focus is on a particular program, AAUW Work Smart in Boston, over a defined period of time (September 2015 – October 2016) in order to understand the program’s impact on the women who participated in it. This report explores several key questions: In what ways do AAUW Work Smart in Boston workshops have an impact on the women who complete them? What are the main barriers that prevent women from addressing their compensation level and/or achieving pay equity? What are primary factors that facilitate women’s capacity to achieve successful salary negotiation and ultimately pay equity? What types of learning and, importantly, what kinds of actions are taken as a result of completing the workshop and how do the women perceive their own worth and value?

The analysis presented in this report is based primarily on in-depth interviews with 52 women who completed workshops.

Supplemental data were collected to understand the perspectives and experiences of individuals involved in workshop implementation.

While the research questions were focused on understanding the impact of the workshops, including whether participants were able to ask for and/or secure a pay increase following the workshop, the case study method allows for the development of a deeper analysis of the experiences women had during and following the workshop.


Prepared for the City of Boston by the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy in the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Report authored by Jecynta Azong, Ann Bookman and Christa Kelleher, with contributors Aimee Bell-Pasht and Priyanka Kabir.

Published by the Boston Foundation. Editors for the Boston Foundation: Rose Corcoran and Barbara Hindley.

Special thanks to Mayor Martin J. Walsh for his leadership on the issue of pay equity and Megan Costello of the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement for her collaboration and guidance in this project, as well as Evelyn Murphy, President of The Wage Project, for her pioneering research and advocacy on pay equity.



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