Foundations of Pay Equity


It was while she was teaching business communication skills in the late 1960s that Nancy began to weave together threads of insight that form her lifelong activist tapestry. She realized that her students, who were mostly women, would be sent out into the working world with inevitable salary disparities in relation to men's wages that were assumed to be normal. In fact, she and her female colleagues faced similarly shocking differentials within the college system between salary scales for women teachers and those for journeymen males. Such inequalities and denial of rights had persisted for a long time within their union, the Newfoundland Association of Public Employees (NAPE).

Nancy saw that critical examination was needed of the conservative attitudes at work against progressive solutions such as recognition of equal pay for work of equal value. It was not a solution to say that women could enter the domain of non-traditional jobs; women in traditional work must be paid at the skill and responsibility levels demanded by their job—and not on the basis of gender.

It was the beginning of the whole discussion on equal pay for work of equal value.