Thursday, April 2, 2015

Equal Pay for Equal Work? 1919

"Brooks Keeps His Word" by W.T. "Tom" Bost, from the Elizabeth City Independent, April 18, 1919

It is one of the anomalies of Raleigh life that substantially all the war going on is in educational circles.

During the late general assembly an equal-pay-for-equal-service bill was introduced. It did not emerge from committee. Miss Julia Dameron of the North Carolina College for Women faculty, wrote State Superintendent E.C. Brooks down as being against the bill. He admitted killing it, but he was in favor in "principle." The women didn’t believe him.

But Brooks was game. He has a board of institute conductors and examiners working under him. Three are men and three are women. When their salaries were fixed by the executive committee of the teachers’ assembly as the law prescribes the committee recommended that the men draw $2,500 and the women $2,000.

Men became solicitous during the legislature and asked the women if they would be willing to continue the discriminationthe men were. The women committed their fortunes to the men. But a fortnight ago Brooks startled the women by recommending that they be raised to $2,500 and that baring the chairman of the board who directs the work, no man on that board should be raised. That would have made five salaries at $2,500 and one at $3,000.

The men have kicked lustily and for a time it seemed that the committee of the teachers assembly had put Brooks down. He comes again and renews his recommendation. He insists that the women do as much work as the men and he declines to discriminate. Every day or two there is a heated conference. But the men who have been told that they do not do more or better work than do the women, do not accept such indignities. They demand $3,000 and Brooks will not recommend paying it.

So two of the examiners who have been told by the state superintendent that their work is not better than the women’s, demand a new classification and they don’t get it.

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