A few weeks ago, I resigned from a high-paying, high-stress job. I spent 10 years working in a male-domiated field. My team was all male, all older than me. I loved them and I loved the work. I worked nights, weekends, often forgot to make dinner for my child, took business trips, missed birthdays, didn’t sleep. It paid off: I got a promotion. What I didn’t get was a proper raise. 

Discrimination has to be blatant, right? Something you would see on TV, #timesup, call a lawyer, organize a march. The truth is, gender discrimination can be quiet, unseen. It can be ignored, especially by a woman trying to keep her feet planted in her corner office. There were times I was embarrassed in meetings, told I was too young to understand. I got over it. There were times, so many times, I had the right answer, but was ignored until an older male co-worker said the same thing. I kept going.

I traveled all over the country for client meetings, wondering if the men gathered around the conference room table had to arrange for their children to be taken to dentist appointments and school activities before they left town. I wondered what would happen if they declined a meeting because they had no child care. Would they be seen as incapable, or celebrated as a Family Man? The difference was quiet, and it was all around me. 

My promotion was thrilling. Top of the org chart, take no prisoners, Look-Ma-I-Made-It thrilling. Until 6 months later, when I was offered a ‘raise’ for my new job. It was offensive. I had been in the industry long enough to know the appropriate salary for such a position. And so, I spoke up. The response was immediate: I was not worth anything more. My resignation followed. My replacement also followed: a male whose salary was almost twice what I was offered. Discrimination is quiet, until one day, it screams.  

I do not regret standing up for myself. It is easier to stay where you are, stay in your lane, take what comes your way. It is easy because women have fought so hard for our seat at the table that we do not want to go backwards. But backwards is gender discrimination. The wage gap. Whatever you want to call it, it’s real. Not just in Hollywood – at regular every day jobs where women are still fighting their way to the C-Suite. Keep up that fight, ladies. Stand up for your worth. Times up. 

© Calling All Cool Moms 2019

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