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Girls & Women

Google Accused of Paying Male Teachers More Than Female Ones

Google is known for being innovative and forward-thinking on many fronts — but gender equality might not be one of them.

On Wednesday, Heidi Lamar, a former teacher at Google’s childcare center, added her name to class-action lawsuit against the tech giant that accuses the company of systematically underpaying female employees and hindering their career advancement, the Guardian reported.

Lamar said that of around 150 teachers employed by Google, just three were men, but two of those men were paid higher salaries than nearly all of the female teachers despite lower qualifications.

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Women are notoriously discriminated against in the tech industry, which remains a male-dominated field. A recent study found that women are paid lower salaries than their male counterparts 63% of the time. And a study conducted in 2015 found that 60% of women in tech were sexually harassed.

But even by Silicon Valley standards, gender discrimination appears to be a particularly pressing problem at Google. Following an investigation into Google’s practices by the US Department of Labor, Janet Herold, the San Francisco regional solicitor for the Department of Labor said, “The government’s analysis at this point indicates that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry.”

Lamar joins more than 60 women — ranging from engineers to managers to salespeople — already represented by the lawsuit. But what’s striking about her claim of gender-based discrimination in compensation among Google’s teachers, is that education, in the US, tends to be a female-dominated field, according to government data.

Read more: Iceland Starts 2018 in Style by Making Gender Pay Gap Illegal

Though Lamar loved her job, when she learned that her male co-worker was offered a starting salary 13% higher than hers, despite having fewer years of teaching experience than her and no masters degree, she voiced her concern.

When Google refused to compensate her for the discrepancy in pay, Lamar reluctantly quit last fall, Gizmodo reported.

“I didn’t want to work for a company that I can’t trust, that makes me feel like my values of gender equality are being compromised,” she told the Guardian. “It feels really scary to speak up, but I do it for the women I work with and the women who are still at Google. We deserve to make livable wages.”

Global Citizen campaigns in support of gender equality. You can take action here to support women-owned businesses and empower women around the world.