Ultraviolet

Equality at a Higher Frequency

UltraViolet is a community of women and men, fighting to expand women's rights and combat sexism everywhere - from politics and government to media and pop culture.

Ultraviolet: Equality at a Higher Frequency

Pay Discrimination is Real!!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

 

Last week, we asked UltraViolet members to tell us about how wage discrimination affects their families. We were blown away by the response--we received literally thousands of submissions. Below is just a sampling. These stories illustrate that the Paycheck Fairness Act is vital to the economic security of women and American families.


 

Cheryl Garcia, CA

 

When I started in pharmaceutical sales I was one of the first women. An older male representative told me he was sorry women were joining the sale forces because it would bring the pay scale down. It didn't bring the pay scale down but the women were started at a lower salary.

 

Laurel Allen, CA

 

In my former position as senior editor of a lifestyle magazine, I made at least $40K less, annually, than my  (male) editor. Our resumes and experience were on par, we started at roughly the same time, we traveled as much, and I worked as many if not more hours than he did. Over the course of our five years as co-workers, that disparity added up to a $200,000 wage gap. When we both left to look for new jobs, only one of us had a wage history that accurately reflected their worth. Not surprisingly, our new salaries reflect that version of the truth-meaning I'm still tens of thousands of dollars behind, annually, a guy with a comparable skill set. If only that disparity were reflected in a useful way in terms of our also-comparable student loan debts and costs of living. 

 

It's difficult to find words for how demoralizing your decision to vote against the Paycheck Fairness Act is. My entire professional career has been marked by disparities between my wage and those of my male co-workers, despite holding equal or more highly ranked positions. Same goes for most of my female friends. It's crushing to learn that something we deal with every day, something so common and so obvious, fails to strike you as important. Your unwillingness to see this issue for what it is--very real, very wrong, and in desperate need of redress ” essentially guarantees my, and my friends', future daughters will have to endure the same.     It's 2012. This is nuts. 

 

Ciji Ware, WA

 

When I worked as a reporter for all three  of the top 3 network affiliates in Los Angeles in the 1970's-80's-90's, always making less than the men in the same job classification.  At one station, I was seated next to a guy who did basically the exact same job as I did and who was paid $11,000 more a year for it. When I, a divorced mother, compalined to the news director, he said to me, "That guy has a family to support."  Whenever I think of this, I still see RED!

 

Karen Roberts, CA

 

I am a physician, with a disabled husband, so I am the bread winner. I worked for an Urgent Care Center earlier in my career, and after several years found out I was being paid much less than the male physicians by the owner of the clinic! This despite his admitting that more patients  asked for me to deliver their care than any of the other physicians at the clinic. His defense was that I spent too much time talking with my patients. I obviously don't work there any longer!

 

Circe Wallace, CA

 

I am a leading agent in the field of sports. Women are paid less in my industry for the same work. This is statistically proven as a real problem. Apparently we need more female congress women. 

 

Maggie Schafer, CO

 

I used to work for a construction company and not only did the give women lower pay, but, they also gave men insurance benefits far above those of women!  Total discrimination!  I have also worked for organizations that are quite fair.  That certainly makes for a much nicer environment - much lower resentment.  Now, I am seeing the men get promoted faster and above women.  THAT is how many companies get around fair pay!

 

Star Seastone, CO

 

Wage discrimination has impacted me throughout my adult life.  As a young woman, I entered a workforce that limited which jobs I was even allowed to apply for.  Those jobs always paid less than jobs listed for men. Some years later, I found myself in the position of being a single mother receiving no child support from the father of my children. My limited wages kept me and my children functioning on a poverty level the entire time they were growing up.  As a result of lifelong work at below standard pay, my social security benefits are extremely low.  I am fortunate to be working at age 68, but my job still does not provide me with a living wage.  Even though I work full time and collect my social security benefits, I am still living below the federal poverty line.  I cannot even think of retiring, because it is impossible to save much money even making every attempt to be frugal. I would end up homeless if I lost my job. As you can see from my story, pay discrimination has a long lasting impact on a woman's life. 

 

Pam Smith, CO

 

In 1996 I went to work for a large health insurance company as a case manager. At that time I had a BSN and <25 years experience working as an RN. I now know that I was given thousands of dollars a year less than a man in the same position with an ADN and far fewer and less preparatory years experience than I. That impacted not only my salary but also my bonuses, my raises, the amount matched in my 401K, my social security, etc. "For want of a nail...."

 

Diane Henifin, CO

 

This goes back years to a Fortune 500 company. I was a middle line mgr. I made considerably less then the men mgrs. I was a single mom, working very diligently to succeed. My 1% commission was cut to 1/2 of 1 % .... had been paid 1% and making close to what the men made. They complained, although no one was to know about the other's pay level....My punishment was to not reward me, but make sure I don't make close to what my male counterparts were making.....this is not isolated as I have worked in many male dominated professions...met with the same battle....

 

Susan Dean, CO

 

When I was employed at a public university, where salaries were based on education and experience, a man with 12 years less experience than I and with less education was paid $5,000 a year more.  This was a major economic loss for me.  No one should face that kind of discrimination.  

 

Deborha, CO

 

Having worked for 43 years as a professional woman I can tell you I DID NOT receive the same pay as a man for the same work.  In fact, I had to work harder in many arenas and put up with discrimination.  I was one of the lucky ones whom graduated from college and have a master's degree and paid off FOUR student loans.  I have no pension,  just money I put away.  I was CEO of a large organization but no pension, no severance; now, don't you think a man would have worked as hard as me and for what I as paid.  No, I am not married

 

David Martin, CT

 

I have had several women working for me in the past who were paid less by our company than were men in the same positions.  This was an 'unwritten HR policy,'    Wage discrimination is real.  It is wrong.  And it hurts.

 

Dennis Kinman, CT

 

My daughter is currently working at a fitness center. She has been employed there for over two years. During the two years, her supervisor has giving her high praise for the thorough work she performs and her attendance and getting to work on time is great. She covers for many people who do not show up for work. She recently found out that a new male employee makes more money than she does for doing the same work. This new guy is not nearly as competent as my daughter but when ask why this is, the answer was that a guy can do more or heavier duties than a woman. My daughter has stated that those situation do not exist at her work and can not make sense of the explanation. 

 

Lynn Norris, CT

 

When I became Director of a hospital, I found 3 men who worked for me made and had always made more money than I. I was a single Mother with 3 children...they were married to women who worked.  UNFAIR

 

Ellen Ribolla, CT

 

I was promoted to manager of a school bus terminal, to receive less than if a man had gotten the position, because I was not supporting a family. I was more qualified, had seniority, and was in excellent standing with the comp;any. The only thing that was missing was that I was not a man. That is not fair on any playing field!  

 

Barbara Bogart, CT

 

As a woman and the sole bread winner for my family, I have been consistently under-paid relative to males with the same position. I have been a chef and a restaurant manager and have earned less than my male counterparts. I have lost thousands of dollars because our society condones this wage disparity as acceptable behavior.

 

Terre Spencer, GA

 

From 2007 to 2010, I was paid $7500/annually less than a male co-worker for doing exactly the same job. And I had a bigger workload.   I have no grounds to sue or be compensated for those lost wages.

 

Deborah Stryker, HI

 

I have been discriminated against my entire life.  When I have held positions where I was assigned the same tasks or had more responsibility than a man holding the same position.  I have always been paid 25-30% less.  Additionally I worked harder than the man because I knew if I did not I would not keep my job.  Now I am a 59 years old and not only being discriminated against because I am a woman, I am also being discriminated against because of AGE!    I have experienced this discrimination for over 40 years! It is unfathomable that our elected officials refuse to recognize this issue!

 

Virginia Bennett, HI

 

Wage discrimination is alive and well on university and college campuses across the country. I am one of the first women to earn a Ph.D. from Princeton University. I have been productive, publishing many articles and a book. I receive consistently great students' evaluations for my teaching, yet my salary is lower than male colleagues of far less productive publishing activities and who are less highly regarded for their teaching. Although dealing with several serious physical handicaps, I managed to put myself through graduate school, obtain work, and single-handedly raise a daughter.  Now, at 72, I'm still working to help support a granddaughter -- all at a wage less than my male colleagues! Is that fair??

 

 

Sara Baciak, IL

 

I used to work in an accounts payable office as an AP Rep.  A year after I started working a new guy started, had the same title as me and did the same work as me.  I had to train him and he knew less than I did when I started.  I worked just as hard if not harder than him, but I still made significantly less and when I asked for a promotion I just got fed with lies until I finally found another job.    I would never wish this upon anyone, something needs to be done about this, if the story was turned around I just know congress would have passed this law and fined the company.      

 

Patricia Raymond, IL

 

When I was teaching at the university of Hawaii on Oahu, it was impossible to find out what my colleagues were being paid, but I was told by my  female colleagues that men were getting a lot more money than I was, but there was nothing I could do about it.    At first, I didn't think it was real until I checked around.    This is not only unfair, but it causes qualified women to leave the teaching field because it didn't pay a living wage in Hawaii.    Does anyone in Congress care about woman or fairness?

 

Andrew Heiserman, HI

 

Before becoming a teacher, I worked in the restaurant business as a manager. In that capacity, I witnessed the owners of various restaurants regularly and systematically discriminate against women and people of color, with respect to hiring, compensation, and promotions.  Due to the fact that most employees do not have access to the compensation plans of their coworkers, few even know they are being discriminated against. However, I sat in management meetings where this discrimination was out in the open; and when I spoke up against it, I was summarily fired.  From my experience, three changes need to happen:  (1) The statute of limitations needs to be extended at least to ten years, and not start until the employee bringing suit actually discovers the discrimination.  (2) Employers need to be transparent about hiring, compensation, and promotions - so that any employee can access such information.  (3) Serious consequences need to be brought against those found guilty of discrimination. We need deterrents, not slaps on the wrist.

 

Kelly Armstrong, IL

 

When I graduated from law school in 2009, I accepted a job with a litigation firm in Chicago. The same firm had hired a male classmate of mine who graduated in 2008. Our resumes were nearly identical - except I had an internship in law school with a judge on the Illinois Supreme Court, and had an additional 2 years of professional non-legal work experience. My starting salary was $5,000 less per year than my male colleague's starting salary the previous year. The reason given was that the former classmate had more "experience" than I did. When I pointed out that I had in fact more experience as well as better experience, I was told that his "additional time" at the firm warranted a higher salary than mine. That does not explain why his _starting_ salary was higher than mine. Basically - making excuses for a reason to pay a man more than me.

 

Brenda Babjak, IL

 

Working at a bank in Illinois, my responsibilities included monitoring the entire computer system for accuracy and handling problems with the system, besides overseeing about 20 tellers and their needs and assisting the accounting dept with teller errors.  For this, I made a little over $10. and hour with over 5 years at the bank.  As the mgmt. hired management trainees, who would sit at a desk learning procedures, some were under my supervision, their starting salaries were double what I was making.  This was not right but complaints to mgmt did no good.

 

 

Judy Trigg, IL

 

In 1992, I was hired by a university counseling center to provide counseling to undergraduate and graduate students. The director promised me that salaries were based on a strict pay scale and that there was absolutely no room for negotiation. About  a year later, one of the long-term employees let it slip that a man who was hired at the same time was started at $10,000 a year more than I was. When I went to the EEOC administrator on campus, she told me that he was paid more because he had "more market value" than I did. I submitted my resignation, effective at the end of the first semester. One of the women at the center told me that she wondered what I would do when I found out. After I left, the director told me that he could have sued me for breach of contract, and he accepted no responsibility for the inequity between our contracts. In fact, he acted as if he had done a magnanimous act by not suing me.

 

Ariel Styles, IL

 

I was a Live Nursery Specialist for Lowes, earning $11.98 hr.  I requested that I receive at least $12.50 hr. Iwas later informed by an outside vendor that he had been offered the LNS position starting at $14.50 hr. and rejected it because the pay was too low. 

 

Patty Goodman, IN

 

My story is typical of the single mom.  I was divorced when my children were really young.  I've never remarried.  I've always had good positions within Corporate America and Higher Education.  However, the salaries were below men doing the same job.  Why do we always have to work harder for less money to keep our jobs or hopes to get closer to that glass ceiling?  I helped put my daugher and son  through college and both are doing well.  My son is in pilot training with the Air Froce.  My daughter is married and has moved twice with her husband's job.  She's a college graduate and the best she can find is an administrative assistant for an aerospace company.  They've just recognized her talents as an editor.  I helped her in her dealings to negotiate a higer salary.  This should have been a given.    Because of my expenses with their college costs (doing the right thing as a parent), I'm extremely concerned that I'll never be able to quit work and retire becasue I won't have the funds.  I'm paycheck to paycheck now.  I work for a not-for-profit university in a director level.    I see more women with stress issues because of low wages, responsibilities with children and/or aging parents.      

 

Jacqueline Kiehne, MD

 

Wage discrimination has no place in civilized society.  Even in my field, nursing, wage discrimination based on gender is a problem.  The wages that male nurse make is much higher than the female counterpart.  Also male nurses make up a majority of nurse anesthesiologist, a high paying nursing position.

 

J. C., MD 

 

I was routinely passed over for promotions specifically because I was a woman. I had a superior resume and produced high quality and high volume work. When I left my last job they had to hire five people to replace me.  I watched as a supervisor listened to several men tell her why they should be promoted and they all said because they were married. They failed to mention that their wives also worked making them a two income family. Their promotions were not based on quality and quantity of work or leadership skills or potential but simply due to their gender and marital status.  (Full name withheld at her request.)

 

Kathy Brohawn, MD

 

One of my first job's out of college was working as a chemist at a hazardous waste recovery site.  At the same time I was hired, a male was hired.  He also was recently graduated from college.  From talking to him, there were no differences in our experience or qualifications.  However, his starting hourly wage was a dollar fifty more an hour than mine!  We had similar expenses, a car, rent, groceries etc.  Why did he get paid more than me?  The only reason I could figure that out was because I was a woman.  It was not fair, I did the exact same work as he did and I had the exact same experience and college classes.  In fact, after the company put resources into training both of us, he quit after being on the job for three months and I stayed on!  

 

Jessica Conaway, MD

 

I found that my employer was paying a fellow (male) nurse with less experience at least  $10,000/yr more than myself and another female nurse .  Both of we women are the single income for our households and have stellar work histories. Tell me how this was fair? 

 

Heather DeLiso, MI

 

I used to work at a business where the original owner believed that women didn't need an equal salary to the male employees since women would have a male counterpart to help balance finances.

 

Sue Olson, MN

 

I worked for several years in a part time job, doing obedience training.  It was by accident that I found I was making $3.00 an hour less than the man doing the exact same job.  

 

Gertrude Coad, MN

 

I got a divorce some years ago. In order to get health insurance, I took a job at far less pay than I needed. I worked with mostly men. I took over many of the things they were doing such as reading and filling orders from other companies printouts (they could not understand them). I built up our business with them. Then some of the male employees made demands to handle those accounts since they were larger. The companies I had been working with asked for me to continue handling their accounts. My pay was a pittance compared to the city desk. And my pension is a very pitiful amount. I thought things had changed over the years. Not so. Get that bill back on the docket and pass it. Women today have far more responsibilities than in the past.

 

Lynn Germscheid, MN

 

I have been working for many years.  One day, a male co-worker accidentally left his pay stub on his desk and I inadvertently saw his salary.  He was junior to me and earning more!  When I asked our manager why the discrepancy, he said, "Well, he has a family to take care of!"

 

Ruth Grindinger, MT

 

I am a nurse, a profession that is 90% female.  I have worked many hospitals where a male colleague with no special skills or credentials is given a special title and paid 25% or more than the "staff" wages.  This is done routinely by male dominated health care administrators.  When I was chosen for promotion I learned on the day that I assumed my new duties that my male coworker, who had also applied for and been denied the job for lack of educational and experiential requirements, had been promoted to be my assistant and in fact with his seniority he was being paid more than I was!  He had none of the management responsibilities, those were all mine.  He reaped the benefits of being a manager in pay and vacation time!  It was all legal, totally unfair, just because I was a woman.    I support our household.  My husband is disabled and as a self employed artisan prior to disability he receives no government or private insurance money.  Holding me back holds the household back.

 

Carol Blum, NJ

 

I work in financial services. I have a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and an M.S. in Computer Science. Throughout my 18 year career I have consistently made 25-50% less than my male peers. I have spoken to attorneys about this problem and feel I have no recourse. Apparently, even if I can prove my case, I am entitled only to the difference between what the difference in pay for the included time. I am not entitled to punitive damages. Bringing a suit like this would be career suicide, so I have chosen not to take action.

 

Richard Vanore, NJ

 

My wife was promoted to Customer Service Supervisor while I was disable with an injury that required 2 surgeries on my leg.  The previous (male) supervisor was making $42,000/year.  Before she was promoted, my wife was making $28,000, and she was given a raise of 15 cents per hour!!!  When she took the problem to the Labor board, they sided with the company, claiming  that this did not constitute discrimination because, after all, she did get a raise!!!!

 

Andrew Singson, NJ

 

My wife's career as a medical professional is as important to her as mine is for me. Yet I see with frustration how she is compensated less than her male colleagues. This is not just unfair but impacts our family's financial health.

 

Ellen Piascik, NJ

 

I have more experience, equal education, and more years with my company but I make the same as a recently hired young man with half of my experience and about a tenth of the time with the firm.

 

 

Lee Sides, NM

 

Worked hard all my life, for less money. Now that I am on Social Security I get a lot less than my husband. This poses a very real financial burden on us when it comes to paying our bills, buying food, paying for medicine, & buying gas for the car to obtain these necessities.

 

Marifrank DaHarb, NM

 

I have a bachelor's degree and more than 30 years' experience. A young man was hired--obviously far fewer years' experience--and had no degree. He was paid more than $10,000 a year more than I was. I saw a lawyer but he talked me out of pursuing a lawsuit because my state is "business friendly" and I would lose. My boss, who knew I was justified, said he would fire me if I took action.

 

Nancy Kramer, NY

 

Worked as the head of a department at a graduate school and all of the men in similar positions made more  money than i did.i was once told it was because the men had to support their families but that the women did not...that The women only brought in extra money to the family.....

 

Gavin Sewell, NY

 

My fiancee has always been underpaid, making less than the men in her office doing the same work.  I'm a visual artist by trade, and even today the work of women artists usually sells for less than those of men both out of galleries and auction houses.

 

Evelyn Monsay, NY

 

I have a PhD in physics from Princeton University, with BA Summa Cum Laude with Distinction in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania.  I hold several patents and have numerous scholarly publications in my field.  I also hold an MBA from Syracuse University and have held program management positions in high tech companies both large and small.  My husband has done similar things in his career life, minus the MBA, management positions and patents.  And yet, I now earn about one third of his salary!  Not fair in the least!

 

Katie Frank, NY

 

I know for a fact (despite company policies prohibiting discussions about wages amongst colleagues), that in my jobs I have made less than my male counterparts. Coming from college with a lot of student debt and loans to repay to my parents (who took them out to allow me to attend the prestigious college of my choice), it has been frustrating to learn this was true over the years as I have struggled to get out from underneath my bills while my male friends have been able to afford luxuries. This is very damaging to worker morale, loyalty to any company as women try to get a new job to make more money, and to self confidence, which women are proven to have less of to begin with.

 

Nicole Nadeau, NY

 

I worked for many different companies who have taken advantage of my gender and have paid me less.  At my last job in Hewlett, NY, I confronted the CEO with data showing how all of the women in the office were working more hours but being paid less than all of the men in our dept.  I was told that it would change. Months later, I approached the issue again because nothing happened.  They then made my life hell until I quit.

 

Kira Mantell, NY

 

I am in a social work, a female dominated industry, which underpaid in general. I am aware of male counterparts making more money than females within the industry. 

 

Jessica Murray, NY

 

I just left a job where I acted as Creative Director but had the title of Associate Creative Director. My company told me that even though I wasn't reporting to anyone, that was the only title they could give me. I was paid about 20K less annually as a result. When I left, they hired a man to replace me, he got the title, presumably the pay, and an office to boot! There was not really much I could do about this. My replacement had nearly identical qualifications, and while I doubt they could have hired someone with "Associate" in their title to run a department, the whole thing really stunk.

 

Shauna DeLaMare, OR

 

While working for a local Petroleum Company I was designated to head up a new division.  This decision came from the VP not the owner and ultimate decision maker for salary.  I learned that I made exactly half of what the other two division mangers took home, they were both men with less education and the same or less experience in the field.  At one point I was told it was because I held a new position that didn't have a salary history, although I had the same title and the same or more responsibility.  Then I was actually told to my face that it was because they are "head of their households.".  This is curious because as a single mother so am I.  

 

Christina Royall, OR

 

In the world of Early Childhood Education, predominately dominated by women, I find it odd that the majority of the administration and leadership I have worked under is comprised of men. I have been passed over for promotion in favor of men despite my proven history of excellence at my job. As the primary earner while my husband starts a small business, wage discrimination endangers the future of our family. 

 

Linda Alband, OR

 

I have never made as much as my husband despite being in the same industry with similar qualifications. It is also harder for me to secure a suitable replacement position than for him. 

 

Jo Ely, OR

 

I was working as an Radiology Technologist for two years running a heart cath lab. I trained a new male student, fresh out of school with no experience, for 3 months and then found out that he had been hired at a higher salary than me after all my years of experience and responsibility. I confronted my boss and he told me men are heads of households and need more money. At the time I was the only breadwinner for my family.

 

Anna Carmichael, OR

 

As a female minister, I too make less than my male counterparts.  I expected this to some degree when I was working in a large church with several ministers on staff.  However, now that I am I running my own parish and am considered "solo clergy", I am still making about $20,000 less than my male counterparts in the same town with similar size parishes.  I find this incredibly troublesome since I have been required to obtain the same amount of education (a minimum of a Masters in Divinity), and have the same types of household expenses.  At this time I am the primary source of income in my family since my husband is a full time graduate student and is working limited hours funded by a grant.  

 

Joyce Winslow, OR

 

I was the sole support of my family for 30 years. In the final years of my employment, I had the same professional title and job description as a male colleague but was paid substantially less. To make matters worse, my male colleague totally abdicated his responsibilities and in order to provide good customer service II found myself fielding his calls, emails, and requests for service. He collected a fat salary for closing his office door to sleep and play video games, while I worked twice as hard for less pay because I cared about our customers.

 

Laurel Atigar, UT

 

I process payroll for 3 locations and work for a company with many men in charge.  I see this happen all the time.  It is sad and as a female I am upset by it.  I cannot believe in 2012 we are still dealing with gender discrimination.  People should be paid based on their skill set and work ethic not their gender.

 

David Ruckamn, VA

 

My spouse who is a teacher gets paid much less than other male teachers, even though she has more experience. Not fair!

 

Thomas Horsch, VA

 

My wife and I had very similar retail management jobs.  I oversaw 20 employees while she was responsible for up to 40.  Instead of us bringing home comparable salaries which would have a bettered our financial situation or better yet she be more fairly compensated, our finances would have made life easier.  She was unfairly paid less and many nights we went to bed with nothing to eat and dressed in outerwear under blankets because we had to ration our use of heating oil.

 

Monica Rokicki, VA

 

I am a professional at the top of my field, and consistently was paid less than less-qualified male coworkers. Even though I knew this was the case, I could not do much about it: in a profession like architecture I'd have been branded a troublemaker and an upstart in the midst of the old boys club. I have since solved the problem by starting my own company, but that does not do much for anyone except for me.

 

Laura Austan, VT

 

All my life I was paid less than the men around me. I worked for 12 years alongside 2 men, doing the same work but making 2/3 their salaries- despite the fact that I had more qualifications for the job, That's the reality of being a working woman in this country. Now that I'm retired my income from Social Security is also that much less for being paid so much less than those with different body parts.

 

Tim Dasler, VT

 

I have a female colleague who started work at a company with more career specific education than the men working there at the time.  She excelled at her work, but was paid 25% less than the men.  She worked hard for 5 years and was never paid equal to the men. 

 

Margaret Larrick, VT

 

In 1998, I was hired as a reporter at a small newspaper.  I was shocked to eventually learn that our two reporters and our editor, all women, were being paid less than the two men who did the same jobs at another newspaper in the same publishing company.

The lower pay wasn't because we were less qualified or doing less work.  In fact, two of us had considerably greater experience, and all of us had a much greater workload.     The male editor of the other newspaper was appalled to hear that we were earning less.  As he said, he wouldn't want his wife treated that way.    Our female ad sales manager was equally upset.  When she confronted the manager for the company, he said, "Well, they all have men to support them, don't they?"     Really?  What if one of us had been living alone, which I had done for many years right before starting my job at that paper?  Would they have paid us more?  I doubt it.  And what about those of us whose husbands didn't make a great wage, which was the case for two of us?  Or what if our husbands got laid off?     

 

Our salaries were just barely above minimum wage as it was.   I can tell you that's pretty much the working poor, buying your clothes at thrift shops, cutting your own hair, etc.  So every penny counted for us.  That salary differential we were missing out on simply because we were born with the wrong set of reproductive organs could make a significant difference in our ability to have any savings at all or deal with emergencies.  Plus it just plain wasn't fair.    As staff at a small newspaper, we weren't unionized.  Nonetheless, we staged a sick-out a day before the newspaper, a weekly, was to be completed.  It unnerved management enough to talk with us and eventually each of us women received a small wage increase.  However, the company turned around right after that and laid off one of us--clearly punishment for speaking up.    

 

Liz, WA

 

I work for the state government. My pay scale topped out in 2006. I am a planner, I do not make much. I have a Master's degree and am certified in my field. Since I topped out, the state has frozen wage increases and cut my pay. My husband, who does not have a degree and worked for the automotive industry, lost his job during "restructuring". His job paid 30% more monthly than mine. We are facing tough times right now. I have seen many lesser qualified men move quickly up the ladder at work, while I sit here, 11 years at this job, praying I can hold on until my husband finds another job....    I can't believe they did not pass that law. We have had to modify our Wells Fargo Home Loan, apply for the Student Loan Forgiveness Program, and start taking the bus to work.     Our Congress is so out of touch.

 

Kascga Newberry, WA

 

After graduation from law school and passing the state bar exam, i was hired by a large corporation.  I was the only female in the department- and the sole supporter of my family.  i was paid exactly 1/2 the salary of the two men who did exactly my same work.  We need a law to protect against this kind of discrimination.  When is Congress going to catch on?

 

Kristy Mathenia, WA

 

I was offered a commission of 5% less than the sales man hired after me in the job I currently have.  In this case I was in a position to know that discrepency in pay, but almost never do you know what your peers do make.

 

Verda Mosier, WA

 

I was paid 2 1/2% commission while a male co-worker was paid 5% for the same work because "he had a family".

 

Marcella Guerriero, WA

 

I'm a bookkeeper who has seen the difference between men's and women's paychecks in real numbers while working for more than one company.