Dawn knew better. While she was acting manager, she had access to payroll forms and had seen some discrepancies: in particular, that a male sales associate who was recently recruited from a tile store was making $2 an hour more than Marie. The egregiousness of the manager’s lie bothered Dawn. That night, after the manager went home, she closed the door to the administrative office and took out all the payroll records and spread them out over the desks. One by one she saw it: There were seven women and five men who were counted as full-time sales associates. In only one case was a woman making more than a man, and it was only when you compared the highest-paid woman with the lowest-paid man. The women’s hourly wages averaged $10.39, and the men’s averaged $13.40 — so that on average, a woman working a 30-hour workweek for 52 weeks each year would make $16,208.40 before bonuses, while a man working the same amount would make $20,904. The men did not have more experience, nor were they quantifiably better salespeople.
There is a precise algorithm that lives in the heart of every woman, one that alerts her when the injustice she is experiencing outweighs the joy. Dawn saw those payroll records and knew she couldn’t stand for it anymore.
In other words, the company had to pay men more per hour to do the same job and decided to lower their profits, and shareholder returns, by hiring men rather than lower case equally qualified and productive women. They did this even though men, as a class, actually had lower value to the company:
Most of their customers were men; men are the ones who buy most jewelry, and so the female managers weren’t surprised when they were explicitly told whom to hire. “You hired women,” said Michelle, who became a district manager during her more than 20 years at the company and who, like many of the women I spoke with, preferred to be mentioned by only her first name. “Good-looking women, because men were the customers.”
If we believe that the managers of this company actively worked against shareholder interests by hiring men at premium wages, why not allow shareholders to tweak the corporate by-laws so that a public corporation can’t hire anyone who identifies as a man?
- “Google Finds Unexpected Gender Gap in Worker Pay” (Reason), i.e., they were paying employees who identified as “women” more