On Equal Pay Day, Women Still Earn Less -- Even At YMCA

The YMCA doesn't have the most inclusive origins when it comes to women. Its name stands for Young Men's Christian Association, after all. But in the last few decades, the youth empowerment nonprofit has made gender equality one of its central tenets. Which is why it came as such a surprise when four women sued the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh last month for paying them less than men in the same or lower positions.

Diane Dennison, 41, is the associate vice president of human resources and leadership at the Pittsburgh YMCA. After a few years there, she began to notice something funny with the numbers. Men at her exact same level, and who were newer to management, were being paid significantly more than she. Three other women in the office suspected the same thing, and they filed their lawsuit together.

Margaret O'Brien, the YMCA's 54-year-old director of training was paid $42,000 a year, but the male director of facilities was paid upward of $80,000 a year. That's more than even Deninson's $65,444-a-year salary, for a position higher than his.

The YMCA "is a strong advocate for equality and strictly follows a policy of nondiscrimination in all employment policies, practices and other aspects of employment," Stephan C. Davis, the agency's senior vice president of human resources and leadership, said in a statement. Their attorneys had examined the accusations, he said, and "based on our employment practices and history there is no validity to the complaints."

The YMCA claims that these jobs were at different levels, and no discrimination took place, according to the women's lawyer, Sam Cordes. But the YMCA actually used a rigid methodology to classify what jobs deserved the same salaries, known as the Hay System. And even women with the same number of points under that system as men were getting much smaller paychecks, according to the lawsuit.

Today is Equal Pay Day, designed to raise awareness of the fact that women in America still earn 77 cents for every dollar that their male peers take home (67 cents if they women are black and 58 cents if they're Latina). That gap represents an average loss of $10,622 a year, according to the National Women's Law Center, or over a year's worth of groceries ($3,210) and child care ($6,992), combined.

These figures are a little misleading, however, because they are the result of a lot of different causes. Women make less money because they are more likely to study subjects and go into sectors that pay less money, like teaching or care-giving. They also make less money because they're more likely than men to take time out from work or go part-time as they raise young children.

But even if you control for all these things, and compare men and women with the exact same job, and same years of experience, a stubborn little gap still remains. An "unexplained gap," as academics say.

A 2007 report from the American Association of University Women found that after controlling for every possible variable -- college major, GPA, occupation, industry, experience, education level, age, race/ethnicity, religion, marital status and number of children -- women still earned 5 percent less than men at one year out of college, and 12 percent less at 10 years out.

The major explanation, most scholars agree, is flat-out discrimination. And the number of wage-discrimination claims filed every year is a reminder that paying women less for equal work didn't die out with the pompadour. In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed just as many claims under the Equal Pay Act in 2010 (1,044) as in 1999. And in 2010, more of them won a payout.

Just this month, Citicorp, the parent of Citibank, was ordered to pay $340,000 to one female worker for allegedly violating the Equal Pay Act. The woman reportedly earned $75,000 a year, when her predecessor with the exact same position made $130,000 the year earlier. In 2011, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, AstraZeneca, agreed to pay $250,000 to 124 women whom it paid, on average, $1,700 less a year than their male co-workers.

The four women suing the YMCA is just the latest case. Many women, it seems, may be laboring for years, unaware that they're shortchanged month-to-month.

"These organizations are put in place and they push as their agenda the fact that they want to eliminate discrimination and they want to create a fairer society," Cordes told reporters. "But you have to look in your own house first."

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Gee, "Patrick." As liberals typically do, you do not address any FACTS and instead just spout the liberal double talk.

Women ARE more emotional and less logical. It's true. It's called human nature. Something you lefties hate. IfDo not try to tell me that women work the same number of hours as men. That is not true. Men are overwhelmingly the breadwinners and are working more hours. I've been around a while and I overwhelmingly see men working later than women. You, again, are wrong. I've been in the staffing industry for 14 years and have NEVER seen a case where a company pays John X and Jane Y. Never. Less than 3% of CEOS are women? SO what? Ever think that maybe all of those male CEOs are just plain better? Never a woman president? Not enough woman senators? So what? And exactly how is THAT discrimination? I vote for whomever I want to vote for.

And as another poster stated, these frivolous lawsuits only hurt women in the workplace, not help them. This creates a liability that you don't have with men.

Get back to me when you have some facts and some basic understanding of economics.

April 18 2012 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wiredacesaa's comment

Facts??!! You're funny. I haven't seen not one source, not one piece of documentation that sustains any of your claims.

April 18 2012 at 10:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

if that is the case, why ever hire a guy? Could it be that women tend to move about in the workforce more and take time off to raise families and men don't both of which have an impact on how long you are putting in with a company and moving up, not to mention experience. Like I said, if that were true, to save money companies would only hire women.

April 18 2012 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jet202's comment

If companies only hired women- that would be grounds for a discrimination suit.

April 19 2012 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here is how the left stays in business. They pit man against woman, white against black and rich against poor. They CREATE these "victim" classes and then turn to them at election time and say "see what your evil rich white male oppressors are doing to you! Only by electing US will you be freed from your oppression!" And of course the useful idiots eat that up.

April 18 2012 at 5:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wiredacesaa's comment

You're doing a pretty good job yourself of pitting man against woman.

April 19 2012 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Some of these responses are pure BS. I have seen this problem EVERYWHERE, even among college graduates. Women make less. It happened to me when I started working for the government. I was offered $9K less than the men in the same job with the same education and professional experience. But I had lived through the recession of the early 80s and just grateful to have a job I really wanted. These women were lucky - they got to see payroll records, so they could be sure the discrimination was real. Good for her: she was the HR director and there for several years and the facilities director made $15K more? $5K if he had more experience in or out of the organizaton I could see, but not $15K. Who are you people?

April 18 2012 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


And posting over and over does not validate your position,
nor make your theory correct.

I handle employment discrimination claims. The evidence
needed to prove discrimination is significant. An employee
needs very strong facts to show that they have been treated
differently based on their gender.

And the facts in these cases show the following:

1. Women are considered by many managers, both male and
female, as "good at the right brain things, but not
left." They "are more emotional and less logical." This sterrotype
is exactly that: a stereotype, the same as the stereotype that
older persons are 'slow' and minorities are 'lazy.' Stereotypes have
no basis in job decisionmaking. But there they are.

2. Women work the same hours as men, and often
more, due to a desire to "prove" their worth
to the company. Such disparity should not be
needed to overcome false stereotypes, but
there is it.

3. Women who have the same education, seniority,
and performance are often paid less than men for doing
the same job, with the same "terms, conditions
and duties." That should not be the case, but
there it is.

4. Companies engage in sex and gender discrimination
sometimes due to actual, direct gender bias by managers.
Other times, it is due to institutional 'memory': that is what
the company has done all along, so that is what we
continue to do. Surprising fact, but there it is.

5. New hires are NOT spared this same bias in many
cases. The gap is lessening, but all of the foregoing problems
still exist on a wide spread basis. That should not be
the way we operate in America, but there it is.

After all, why is it so hard to fathom this gender bias as
continuing to be alive and well?

Out of 100 U.S. Senators, less than 20% are women.

We have never had a woman president.

Less than 3% of Fortune 500 companies CEOs
are woman (12 of them).

I mean, c'mon folks, job discrimination against
women was not even made illegal until
1964 in the U.S.

And in Ohio, where I live, the state did not
have any law banning sex discrimination
until the late 1980's.

Bottom line? Sex discrimination has not been
eliminated, although progress is
being made every day---often by
lawsuits like the one in this article.

Thanks for listening.

(If you like it, fan it!)

April 18 2012 at 5:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

"A 2007 report from the American Association of University Women found that after controlling for every possible variable -- college major, GPA, occupation, industry, experience, education level, age, race/ethnicity, religion, marital status and number of children -- women still earned 5 percent less than men at one year out of college, and 12 percent less at 10 years out."

I wonder if they took into account the studies that show women are less agressive about negotiating salary and raises, and are less likely to advocate on their own behalf for deserved bonuses.

April 18 2012 at 5:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Papa Hunk

In most cases - men make better employees than women. They stay with a job longer - are not subject to relocation because of their mate - and have less things that may interrupt them while on their job. I praise the women who are able to take on a real full time job and still keep a home in tact - but they are the exception rather than the rule.

April 18 2012 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I read an interesting study about job offers given to people who had just completed a masters' degree, possibly an MBA. One of the things that came out of the study was that taller men got better offers than shorter men. Height counts. I've also seen studies, experiments actually, that looked at interactions when people are talking. They discovered that tall people tend to talk over the heads of short people. This is of interest to me because I'm short and over my career have noticed that I had to make just a little more noise than the guys in order to be heard. However, to me it's just one of the many things in life that's not fair and I need to live my life regardless of those things I do not control. The height issue alone, since on the average men are taller than women, would account for a lot of the difference in how they are paid.

April 18 2012 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to leblancaj's comment

I'm a tall man. You must realize that everything is built for people of normal height, such as yourself. Sinks are all built for shorter people. The strain on my lower back, from having to lean over to gain access to the sink, has caused much pain and strife. The same goes for water fountains. I practically have to kneel down just to get a drink of life-giving water? How 'bout how silly tall people look in vehicles designed for fuel economy. They are typically smaller vehicles designed for normal height humans. Tall people look silly as hell riding around in one of these cars. We deserve more pay for just having to deal with a world built for normal sized people. lulz

April 18 2012 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

1) I suspect that all variables were not removed in the comparison that left 5%/12% differences.
2) As another noted, if all else equal and women were lower cost to employ, they would takeover the workforce.
3) If these type of lawsuits continue, women will create a self fullfilling prophesy as they will represent a liablity not present in men. Throw in racial aspects and you are really off and running.

April 18 2012 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Steve's comment

Don't suspect- prove.

April 18 2012 at 10:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One anecdote does not an argument make. Generally and overwhelmingly, men work more hours, have more seniority, etc. etc. Oh and another of these liberal studies which they conveniently forget to point out: maternity leave. "John and Jane work same job at same company. John make more. Discrimination!" The part they forgot to tell you about is that Jane took three months off to have a baby. So OF COURSE he made more than Jane last year. As he should.

April 18 2012 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to wiredacesaa's comment

You have no facts for anything that you have said. No documentation, no sources- nada. All you have given have been anecdotes and your point of view. Pots and kettles with regards to anecdotes.

April 18 2012 at 10:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You didn't read the facts provided by the study where they do take maternity leave and everything else into consideration. Selective reading? You skip the facts because you don't want to argue against data because you have none of your own to provide.

April 18 2012 at 10:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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