Wal-Mart's class action lawsuit began yesterday, and marked the largest gender discrimination case in U.S. history (for a backstory as well as more information, click here). The plaintiffs in the case had all been intimately involved in this case for at least ten years, and experienced gender-based injustices regarding salary, promotions, and work-place discrimination. Holly Kearl, a national street harrassment expert and nonprofit professional who's been cited by the UN, BBC News, the NYT, and more, was part of the large demonstration in front of the Surpreme Court supporting the women. Her story, below:
"I went to the US Supreme Court this morning at 4:45 a.m. with the goal of procuring one of the seats open to the public for the oral argument. So many people care about the case that I was 69th in line. Many people at the front had arrived between 1 and 2 a.m. and had camped out in sleeping bags. We all waited together until 10 a.m. and the mood was energetic and cheerful, despite the cold (30 degrees out), darkness, and early hour.
"Sadly, I was not able to attend the oral arguments, only the first 50 people in line could, but I was moved to a line where we could take turns viewing the argument for 5 minutes. I waited more than 5 hours to view 5 minutes, but it was worth it! It was one way I could show the women of Wal-Mart I support them. When I finished my 5 minutes, I was thrilled to see dozens of supporters of Wal-Mart women in front of the Supreme Court, including folks from AAUW. I joined them in holding signs of support and chanting things like, "What do we want? Fair Pay! When do we want it? Now!" We stayed until 11:30 a.m. chanting and holding signs to make sure everyone knew that the women of Wal-Mart have our support."
Despite the enthusiasm outside the courtroom, WWD reports that the plaintiffs met trouble inside, as the judges questioned the legitimacy of their class action suit, as it wasn't clear that Wal-Mart was intentionally discriminating based on sex. A decision should be reached by this summer.