Are you (or a woman you love) being cheated out of 33 percent of your earnings?
If you're a woman, over your working lifetime you will lose between $700,000 and $2 million -- simply because of your sex. Is that fair? No. Can it be stopped? Absolutely. The wage gap is a steady drain on the daily lives of women and our families. Rarely do we step back and add up what's missing -- better medical treatment, child care, housing, food, or retirement savings that women could have afforded if they were paid as well as men. Getting Even exposes the discrepancy between what women and men make -- and how it affects us all. It reveals that the wage gap is not going away on its own. And it explains how to close the wage gap -- and, finally, get women even. In this intelligently argued and startling book, Evelyn Murphy, Ph.D., humanizes the numbers through real-life stories and a wealth of data that has never before been examined. She shows how the wage gap pinches the daily lives of families throughout the country, at every economic level and in every industry. And she explains why, even though women have more opportunities than their mothers did, the wage gap persists: The American workplace still harbors an astonishing amount of discrimination, including blatant as well as complex hidden barriers, unspoken assumptions, unexamined attitudes, and habitual ways of behaving. But Murphy also brings good news: The wage gap can be closed. Having served as an economist, politician, public official, and corporate officer, she has a 360-degree view of the problem -- and of the solution. In a book that will explode into public debate, Murphy issues the indictment, rouses us to action -- and tells us exactly how to get even.
1. Before reading the book, did you think that the wage gap was closing? What do you think now? What do you think are the reasons for the wage gap? 2. What were some of the most surprising facts you learned about the American workplace while reading Getting Even? 3. How many women in your group have personally experienced unfair or unequal treatment -- bias in hiring, promotions, or pay; unfair treatment when you got pregnant or had a child; being shunted out of "men's work" or into "women's work" (whether blatantly or subtly); or sexual harassment? How did it change their career or hold them back? 4. What are you and other women you know not able to afford in your daily life because you earn 23 cents less than a man? 5. Working women's qualifications have essentially caught up with men's, yet sex discrimination persists. Remember the story about Sandra Day O'Connor, who graduated at the top of her law class only to be offered secretarial work at the best law firms? Take a moment to discuss examples you know from your own experience or friends who have faced stereotyping at work. How much did stereotyping cost them or you? 6. From single women to working mothers, civil-service employees to CEOs, Getting Even introduces a wide range of characters that have fought to get even. With which women did you identify? How did their stories resonate for you? 7. Through case studies, research, and the author's own professional experience, Getting Even illustrates that taking action can yield tremendous results. What were the most inspiring lessons you took from the women professors at MIT, the female workers at Publix and Home Depot, the state of Minnesota, or the changes at Mitsubishi? 8. Have you ever negotiated a pay raise? What was the experience like? Were you successful? 9. What women do you know who have successfully negotiated to be paid and treated fairly at work? Why do you think were they successful? Note: You may even choose to submit your stories to www.wageproject.org. 10. Is there anyone among you -- whether you are striving to get ahead in your career or you are in a management position with the opportunity to make change -- who wants to start his or her own WAGE group? Have you looked at the Web site ww.wageproject.org to find out how to start a wage club or where to join one that already exists? 11. How can your group work to apply Getting Even's suggestions to your region? Will you benchmark a company, write letters to the editor, or take on some other task? Have you checked the Web site to see whose ideas might be useful for you? Do you have any creative suggestions of your own for women who are striving for -- and are entitled to -- equal pay?
Evelyn Murphy was the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts from 1987 to 1991. She was the first woman in the state's history to hold statewide office. She has been an executive vice president of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Massachusetts and is a corporate director of SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Bank of America. She is the founder and president of the WAGE (Women Are Getting Even) Project Inc., which is dedicated to closing the wage gap in every American workplace.