A Seat at the Table (ASATT)
“A Seat at the Table” (ASATT) is an initiative sponsored by the Benjamin L. Hook Institute for Social Change in collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Affairs with the goal of empowering women students by providing mentorship opportunities, financial literacy lessons and career readiness skills.
Women, especially women of color, operate under severe social, financial, and other constraints in their personal and professional lives. These constraints combined with the gender pay gap and gender wealth gap uniquely position women in serious need of financial literacy and career readiness assistance. According to the Center for American Progress, women of all races make just $.82 for every $1.00 earned by men of all races. This gap results in a $10,194 pay differential per year and a $407,760 pay differential throughout a 40-year career. It is important to note that these earning gaps are even more significant for most women of color. Additionally, women hold two-thirds of the U.S. student loan debt, are more likely to be denied mortgages, and are more vulnerable to predatory lending practices.
To help women with career readiness, we must consider their racial and gendered experiences. Not only do societal and structural sexism and racism influence career decision-making, but other cultural and familial attitudes towards jobs can also negatively impact the career aspirations of these women.
For this reason, the Hooks Institute has partnered with the university’s Office of Multicultural affairs to target women, especially women of color, to participate in the initiative. We will also partner with other student organizations focusing on women.
The purpose of ASATT is to show that women from any socioeconomic background can succeed in any field they choose. This initiative will help empower women to determine their career paths, build knowledge about career options and close opportunity gaps by creating mentorship pipelines and valuable experiences in STEM, financial/business-related fields, nonprofits, and other sectors. In addressing hard and soft career-readiness skills, both programs will impact opportunities for students in employment, income, financial stability, and wealth-building. ASATT ensures participants do not feel isolated in their search for a career path by providing access to mentors and empowering them to look past the limitations placed on women that generally prevent them from accessing senior employment levels. ASATT aims to inspire and show women that they deserve a seat at any table they choose.