3 Real Women Tell Their Experiences With Wage Inequality

Photographed by Ruby Yeh.


With Equal Pay Day this Tuesday, April 14, we asked women if they'd ever found out they were paid less, and how they handled the situation (or if they just seethed quitely). These stories are obviously just the perspectives of the women interviewed, as told to us, and not a full representation of the female workforce as a whole. Their stories, however, show an enormous — and horrifying — wage gap we all should be talking about.

Product Manager At A Tech Company 
"Found out 3 months ago that my co-worker — who has the exact same job and exact same title as me  — makes $20K more. I'm still floored by this, but I'm not sure what to do yet. Been there 6 months, feel like I need to get at least a year under my belt at the company before I can start rattling the cage. But most likely I will just leave the company at the one year mark and ask for what I know I'm worth at my next job. I'm the only woman PM, everyone else is dudes. And, there are only three women in the tech department total. It's hard for me to focus on doing great things at the company, knowing what I know. The situation bothers me a lot."

Senior-Level Editor At A Lifestyle Magazine
"I found out that a male colleague whose title and time at the company were less than mine was making more than $20,000 more. He's a good friend, and the way I found out was that he mentioned his salary in passing, assuming I made more than he did because I was significantly senior to him. (We were both hired by, and reported to, a man.) I seethed, and continue to seethe. I bring it up whenever we hang out. It's been a while and I now make more than he does (the upside of that conversation is now we're really frank with each other about money, and it's nice to have a friend to talk to that way), but I still always make him pay for drinks. He owes me."
Research Assistant 
"My story is a little different. I don't know how much my male counterpart made. But my company habitually kept women in middle management positions for years, then when it was time to promote, instead hired men from outside the company to be their supervisors. The company was small, so it was very noticeable. Right before I left, a woman who worked very hard for the company for many years, was demoted in order to bring on a man to manage her. There was one woman who was high-ranking in the company, and I had been told that she doesn't like to promote other women."



More from Work & Money

So, you've graduated from college, updated your LinkedIn, and have been hitting up your network like crazy. You had an amazing first interview, you ...
If the new phrase for the office BFF is the "work wife," then is a good boss or mentor your "work mom" or "work dad"? Part authority figure, part dispenser...
The morning at my insurance firm was hectic. My first appointment after lunch was a balding man in his mid-50s. I smiled at him warmly and attempted ...
Refinery29 joined the Clinton Foundation for a tour of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to get a firsthand look at the experiences of the women and girls who live ...
9:30 p.m. — HANGRY. Get home and eat canned soup and watch Netflix before bed
Any recent grads freaking out about their job prospects need not fear: Apparently the demand for exorcists has never been higher. The Telegraph reports ...
9:45 a.m. — Starbucks reward, bitches! OBV I get the most expensive thing that I can concoct. A Venti 5 shot soy latte. Yum
You know what's easy? Spending money. It's the best way to get what you want right now. Except...this is not sustainable. Those little luxuries add up ...
Four years ago, my life was exactly where I wanted it: I was working as a senior editor at a major glossy magazine. My first young adult novel had just ...
After months of waiting and countless discussions about what the future holds for our favorite television characters, Shondaland shows are finally back. ...
Just after my son’s first birthday, I was on the phone with my mom, grappling over a gut-wrenching decision. I was scheduled to go on a business trip but...
I get so nervous before job interviews — sweaty palms, dry mouth, butterflies in my stomach. It’s really not fun. But once I’m sitting down with the ...
Fifty percent off your purchase here. 1,000 free miles there. When it comes to credit cards, the benefits are easy to see — while the downsides are often ...
As the host of RIOT's Woke Bae, we already know comedian Phoebe Robinson is funny AF while getting serious about major issues like feminism and ...