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The recent debate over a law requiring equal pay for women has touched a personal sore spot.

I recall years ago, when I began working as an administrative assistant for a large insurance company, I was paid about 10% less than the male I was replacing– and I had more administrative experience than he did!  But, at the time, I was young and naive, and it never occurred to me to ask for higher pay.

I was also charged about 20% more for my health coverage, purely because I am a woman, in spite of the fact that I had (and still have) no intention of having children. I actually argued with the inurance rep over this point.  The health insurance rep (also a woman) explained that it made no difference, because there was a chance that I might change my mind. When I asked hypothetically if they still charge more for women who were menopausal, she answered yes. I told her I hoped that someday she would realize how sexist the practice was. Then I paid the extra 20%, because what else could I do?

Women are not charged 20% less for everything for being women, so why should we be paid on average 20% less?

This should be important to men, too. These women are your wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters. If they are making equal pay, it is a benefit to the men in their lives too.  When women are making the same pay as men, imagine how much easier it will be to save for your children’s educations, pay your mortgages, or take longer vacations.

Moreover, women make up about half the world’s population, so equality for women is equality for every ethnicity and culture.

And, ladies.. it is time to be bold. If you do not ask, you do not receive. Employers trying to save a few bucks will pay any employee a little less if they can. Don’t be afraid to ask for more; you might be surprised how often you get it!!

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