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Comparable Worth Concept

October 13, 1985

In his anti-comparable worth letter, Moody states a common misconception: that women prefer "women's work." In truth, the Old Boy Network often keeps women out of the jobs they would prefer. Example:

When I graduated from college, I was refused a number of on-campus job interviews because I "didn't have the right educational background," while a male friend who had taken the same classes with the same grades had no trouble landing a junior manager position with a multinational corporation. I eventually had to take a secretarial position to pay the bills, thanking God that I could type.

After several years of increasingly responsible secretarial positions, I applied for an administrative position requiring client contact, scheduling and organization--all skills I had perfected a a secretary. This time, the reason for refusing me the interview was that "all my job experience was secretarial, and they didn't think I could handle this job." Meanwhile, my friend was promoted to middle management, and on his way up.

Earlier this year, I again applied for a position that required skills that I had developed as a senior secretary, and was again refused an interview because my experience was clerical. The job went to a young man who had recently graduated from college, and apparently had little or no experience of any sort.

As to Harry Brand suggesting that librarians, nurses, and social workers train for higher-paying jobs, does he intend to totally abolish these three positions, or merely find less competent people to fill them, who will work for less because they are less competent?

Comparable worth, or pay equity, will benefit everyone. Men will not be chained to jobs they dislike, because their wives will be able to support the family while the men look or train for something better. Men who pay child support may pay less if women earn more. Women currently on welfare will be able to afford child care if they work; "women's work" salaries now are often barely more than the cost of child care, even for women with education and experience.

Let us, in all this anti-feminism, not forget that when men were secretaries, the position was well-paid and prestigious. It is only since the position has become "women's work" that it has become a degrading dead-end job.


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