How can I address a being paid less that my male colleagues with similar or lesser roles in my company? is closed as a duplicate of How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid?. The circumstances in the questions are so different as to require different answers.

The newer question is about how to deal with being paid less than you are worth when you believe being a women is effecting her pay. The other question makes no reference to gender. A compete answer to the newer question must address the question of gender discrimination. This is true even if you don’t believe that gender is an issue in this situation because the questioner does believe it.

Finally, a lot of people reacted to the newer question by asserting that gender was not a factor in the question. Closing this question assumes that those people are right and the questioner is wrong. The question shouldn't be closed based on a assumption that the questioner issues of gender discrimination are irrelevant.

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    It's depressing how little knowledge about gender pay gap statistics that discussion shows.
    – Nemo
    Jul 31, 2018 at 19:02

3 Answers 3


Whether gender actually is an issue is irrelevant. The OP believes it is, and that will inform how she approaches the problem. We have plenty of questions about bad managers, problem coworkers, and so on, and we don't go around closing them because that's just the OP's opinion.

People come here with questions. Those questions have contexts. We need to pay attention to context.

While the question about what to do if you're feeling underpaid is very related, this question is different in an important way. Look at the answers on the current question; they don't work on the other question.

This question should remain open. (It's been closed and reopened once already.)

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    Here's the problem I have. If anyone approaches a situation where they perceive discrimination, and there is none, they can damage their reputation. I know this because when I was young and stupid, I did the same thing and I learned from it. When you are in a group that faces discrimination, it is important to exhaust all other venues. That way, there's no plausible deniability. The OP gave us that she was paid less (not uncommon, I'm in that situation now) and that she was a woman and assumed discrimination. If she runs with that and it just turns out to be her negiotating skills... Jul 19, 2018 at 19:13
  • Then she'll be underpaid AND have a bad reputation. Jul 19, 2018 at 19:14
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    @RichardU and in that situation, a good answer would show the OP how to think about an approach the problem so as to minimize damage. Lots of people think they're being discriminated against; some of them are and many of them are not. Both of them will ask their questions in the same way. We shouldn't be in the business of judging who's right and who's wrong, but we should be giving them the tools to approach their problem constructively. Jul 19, 2018 at 19:17
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    I see (and cede) your point. thank you. Actually, I think I have a good answer for it now. Jul 19, 2018 at 19:22
  • @RichardU then the discussion helped -- we get a good answer out of it. :-) (No slight of existing answers intended; I haven't looked. But now we will get another.) Jul 19, 2018 at 19:23
  • Thanks. I think I can add to this because I HAVE gone through discrimination and know the tactics they use. Jul 19, 2018 at 19:28
  • Well, I hope mine is good. I tried to back it up. Jul 19, 2018 at 19:40

While I did not VTC, I will not vote to reopen on the following grounds.

The newer question is about how to deal with being paid less than you are worth when you believe being a women is effecting her pay.

Emphasis on the word belive being mine.

  1. The OP presents no evidence of her gender being a factor other than stating that others are being paid more.
  2. The solution to the OP's post is the same.

From the accepted answer:

When asking for a raise you want to highlight your benefit to the company. Some things to consider are: •What major projects have you lead/contributed to? •What major business goals have you helped the company achieve? •What roles are you currently playing in the company? (you mention a few, but when talking to your boss you want to be able to concretely say you're dong the work of X people/roles) •Have you helped the company make (or save) a substantial amount of money recently? •What specific job responsibilities have been added to your workload (Again you mention that as people have left you've inherited their work. Quantify this and update your job description to show the new work you're doing). •Has any work been taken away from you? (you mention you fill a management role - can you now delegate some of your original job responsibility?)

The accepted answer is a valid solution for the OP, without any support for her assertion that it is discrimination we can't advise past what the duplicate suggests.

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    The issue is someone believes they are being discriminated against. And they want to understand how they can address this discrimination effectively, professionally, and with the least risk possible. This is squarely in the wheelhouse of "Navigating the workplace" and is something that our experts should be able to address. Jul 18, 2018 at 18:07
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    I am not saying the OP was discriminated against... that is for court to decide. But how a person in a workplace should address the issue if they believe it was is completely on topic. Jul 18, 2018 at 19:24
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    @RichardU Gender based bias in the workplace is a real problem. You can question if it is happening in this case, however comparing it to a ludicrous senaro is neither helpful or respectful to the questioner.
    – Ben Mz
    Jul 18, 2018 at 19:43
  • @BenMz With all due respect, the fact that something DOES happen does not mean that it happened in this case and the BELIEF that something happened/is happening is not something we can base an answer on. Discrimination towards autistics happens as well, and I would have the same answer for another autistic if he or she claimed discrimination without any sort of support. Jul 18, 2018 at 19:52
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings and if discrimination was in fact NOT occurring, the OP would be moving on bad advice. Now, if the question were "How can I determine if I am being discriminated against" Then THAT would not be a duplicate. However, since the OP just provided a belief, the answer is the same as referenced in the linked post. Jul 18, 2018 at 19:54
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    @RichardU - The goal of stack exchange is to provide answers to questions. That means that sometimes people will get advice that leads them in directions they will regret. It should not be our place to try to prevent that by censoring questions that could have that potential. But rather just to provide them with answers to the questions they ask. Jul 18, 2018 at 20:05
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings yes, but we explicitly don't answer questions for things that are not even hypothetical. Jul 18, 2018 at 20:08
  • This is not that. If these were shapes this would be a star and your hypo would be a circle. The star may fit through a hole intended for the circle. But it is still a star and not a circle. Jul 18, 2018 at 20:14
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings I'd vote to reopen if the OP posted some support for her position that couldn't be explained by something other than discrimination. Bad negotiation, for example. Not every discrepancy is due to malice. Jul 18, 2018 at 20:16
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    @RichardU - My point is we should not be the gatekeepers of what is discrimination. Just explain how to deal with it if you think it is happening to you. I would think the answer of what to do should help the OP determine if it is actually happening to her. Jul 18, 2018 at 20:43
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings not gatekeepers of discrimination, just of the site and keeping out squishy questions. Jul 18, 2018 at 22:26
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    I'm curious what evidence you would accept that proves it's a gender issue. "How can I address sexism in the workplace that results in me being paid less?" is a valid question, which there can never be proof for, because an employer would never admit to it - so how are we suppose to discuss it? You're saying without proof, we can't, and I'm saying there can never be proof.....so...do you see the issue?
    – ESR
    Jul 19, 2018 at 6:31
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    @RichardU Can you please explain why this particular claim requires evidence which cannot be explained by other phenomena, but the vast majority of other claims do not?
    – Phoshi
    Jul 19, 2018 at 9:28
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    @PhoshiSounds like you fave some ideas of your own, please feel free to propose your own question. Jul 19, 2018 at 12:15
  • @RichardU: Comments are here to help people improve their answers. Your answer would be improved by explaining why this claim needs to be treated differently to other claims. Whether or not I have my own ideas is irrelevant to that point - this is what comments are for.
    – Phoshi
    Jul 19, 2018 at 16:41

There was no assertion in the comments that gender was not an issue, only that gender was not necessarily an issue.

The OP did not provide evidence that gender discrimination was at play. Nevertheless the OP believed it was the case, so any answers must address that, even if to point out the opposite (as they have).

I propose we leave it open because, if nothing else, it shows what G.D does not look like, which can serve as future reference to similar questions.

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    What evidence would be sufficient? I do not believe any other question is required to provide evidence that the scenario is really what is happening, and in fact it is extremely common for the questions to be based around what the person thinks is happening and the answers to respect that. The only difference here is that the question is believing something we have ample evidence is endemic in the industry - surely giving it more weight, not less. We do not require hard evidence for the vast majority of claims, so suddenly requiring it for this one needs a lot of justification.
    – Phoshi
    Jul 19, 2018 at 9:25
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    @Phoshi I don't know, but what was provided (I'm a woman and he's a man) does not scream discrimination to me. This scenario is very common regardless of gender, so there's no reason to escalate by assuming sexism. I will not respond to your assertion of endemicity of sexism because it is assuming guilt where none has been demonstrated.
    – rath
    Jul 19, 2018 at 9:28
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    Sure, but we believe other askers when they state that they believe something is occurring. Why are they not held to the same standards of proof? It might not "scream discrimination to you" but I'm not sure why that means the question should be closed and not answered. Offering hard proof of this kind of thing is is often impossible, and at very least risks compromising somebody's identity, which can have real consequences. That's why we don't require it for other claims of similar severity.
    – Phoshi
    Jul 19, 2018 at 9:34
  • @Phoshi It sounds like you have an answer of your own to contribute. I can't speak for other Qs, only for this one. I invite you to consider transferring your comments to an answer so your arguments are not recorded on something as transient as comments.
    – rath
    Jul 19, 2018 at 9:40
  • @Phoshi I think your posts towards me are due to discrimination against autistics. I don't have any proof, but you should be treated as if you are doing so. Jul 19, 2018 at 16:47

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