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A message to women graduates: Ask for what you’re worth

Written on Jul 31, 2020

Graduation speakers frequently offer wisdom on topics such as embracing failure, learning to lead in tough times and helping others along the way. In her recent commencement speech to Barnard College, Abby Wambach touched on all of these points, but she also emphasized something else to the class of young women: ask for what you’re worth.

She recounted a story detailing a time when she was honored at the ESPYs along with Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning, realizing although all three were at the top of their respective sports, she was the one who in retirement would have to hustle to support herself.

Wambach addressed a pervasive issue that affects practically every industry, not just professional sports. In 2016, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 80% of what men were paid, according to the AAUW.

Wambach urged the new grads to continue to speak up for themselves and for each other, referring to her teammates and other women as the “wolf pack.”

“Give me the job, give me the same pay that the guy next to me gets, give me the promotion,” she said. “Give me the respect I’ve earned and give it to my wolf pack, too.”

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