Thanks to the Prince William Muckraker blog for bringing this matter to light. First of all, what would it have cost the county to recognize Gender Pay Inequality Day? Absolutely nothing.

Nice speech, Ms. Lawson, nice speech.  Gag!  I am embarrassed for the supervisor.  I graduated from college when there was darn little open to me other than education.  Shame on you then, Ms. Lawson, for not trying to improve the pay for the educators in Prince William County.  Your voting record points to trying to keep education labeled one of those low paying jobs.

Ms. Lawson’s logic is flawed and defies most statistical information.  Women make less, on average, than men do.  There are a multitude of reasons why.  In fact, many reasons go back to the fact that yes, women get pregnant.  That’s the reason that until the 70’s, women were pretty much relegated to the steno pool.  Companies didn’t want to invest in their training because women got married and had babies.  We have come a long way since those “Mad Men” days but there is still a ways to go.

Does Ms. Lawson understand that many women aren’t in the position to make career choices?  Not everyone goes to college.   How about those women who don’t go to college.  Let’s compare them to men who don’t go to college.  Here is where there is a huge differential in pay.   Men can often make up income differences by working skilled labor jobs that just really aren’t open up to women.  Hell, even the military had a glass ceiling until very recently.  (actually it still does, culturally)

Lawson also throws around words like “liberal” and “feminist” as though these were bad labels.    Ms. Lawson acted like she was picking up chicken crap with her fingers as she said them.  Lawson not only contributes to her own oppression–she also just contributed to the oppression of every woman in Prince William County.  Many of us do espouse liberal thinking and do define ourselves as feminists and without apology.

Frank Principi is correct about this issue.  I thank him for having the sensitivity to attempt to pass this resolution,   It was a small, symbolic gesture that women deserve equal pay for equal work.  Some of our board of supervisor members can’t even shed their “elect me, I’m a conservative” mantle long enough to acknowledge that not all women in our society receive equal pay for equal work.   To those supervisors, I say “SCREW YOU” — Supervisors Ruth Anderson (R-Occoquan), Pete Candland (R-Gainesville), and Corey Stewart (R-At Large) and of course, Jeanine Lawson, (R-Brentsville).   What cave did you all just crawl out of?

Such a small gesture….and you blew it.



41 Thoughts to “Supervisor Lawson denies gender pay inequality”

  1. It’s just recently that women have been going to college for higher paying jobs? She says that “for decades” women have accepted lower paying jobs, but isn’t that because most felt that was all that was available. “Lower paying jobs in education” one that she feels should REMAIN lower paying? That was sad.

    1. Robin Hood

      Joe George,

      Good point! Research shows that the best school systems worldwide pay teachers well to attract the best and the brightest. Finland and China are prime examples.

  2. Pat.Herve

    I will be as polite as I can be. She is F’n Clueless. Sorry for the language. She is confusing job opportunities with the pay. I can say, I know situations where men were paid more than the woman – with very similar (and identical) job descriptions. Clueless.

    1. Pat.Herve,

      Clueless and offensive.

      Not every woman has the luxury of being the little stay at home mom with a hubby to be the family provider. Not every woman has the ability or means to go to engineering school. She just smacked a lot of women squarely in the face with her self-serving arrogance .

    2. Kelly_3406


      I would be interested in knowing more about situations that you observed women being paid less than men for the same job. Is it recent? What type of jobs were they? Were there valid reasons or was it illegal discrimination? What would it take to fix those situations?

      1. It isn’t just equal pay for equal work–it is also access to those jobs that pay well. It’s also about promotions and being promoted to managerial positions. It’s also about statute of limitations (Lilly Ledbetter). Often women don’t know they have been discriminated against for years.

        The military has glass ceilings also. How many women fighter pilot are there compared to men? Gender pay discrimination is subtle.

        Regardless, it does exist and even if we solved the problem (which we didn’t) will it stay solved. What on earth is wrong with dedicating ourselves to the concept that women should have access and receive equal pay for equal work and have full opportunities to achieve these goals? That’s just such an inexpensive decent thing to do.

        What MRS. Lawson said was insulting to women. She did her homework? What voodoo labor books did she read? Obviously one that is shelved in an echo chamber where all she will hear is something that meets her own rosie little ideals–having nothing to do with facts.

        I await to see what Lawson’s response is to the teachers this year. Will they receive their pittance that they have to grovel and kiss ass for? Just doing her part to keep education salaries low.

        I went to bed last night thinking…golly gee (yea right!) if I had only been born with a penis I might have amounted to something.

        Then I thought about Pete and Corey and how Hell will freeze over before one of those misogenist A-holes will get my vote. Finally does Ruth even think for herself or does Richie do all her thinking for her?

        I want things to continue to get better for women. I don’t want to pigeon hole them into jobs with low ceilings. I have a daughter, daughter-in-law, and granddaughters who need to know that they can be all they want to be. Obviously, Jeanine, Ruth, Pete, and Corey don’t feel that way about any women, especially if it gets in the way of a vote.

        I notice that Ms. Jeanine didn’t hesitate to play the woman card to get her friend elected on decades old mostly inaccurate information about the friend’s opponent. However, supporting women with a costless resolution? Nope. She probably doesn’t want to upset her old moss back neanderthal base. Her words made me sick.

      2. Kelly_3406


        Not only is there plenty of female fighter pilots, women are now members of the Thunderbirds. There are female four-star generals, one of which is a combatant commander. The Secretary of the Air Force was a female.

        At my daughter’s school, 100% of the females that applied to pilot training was selected. That is a higher percentage than the men. The problem is that few women applied. With the current pilot shortage, you can be certain that any female who is good enough to be a fighter pilot and who wants to be a fighter pilot will be selected.

        Women are even eligible for special forces, provided that they can meet the physical standards.

        What glass ceilings do you think exist in the military?

      3. There are cultural glass ceilings everywhere. The addition of females to high ranking positions and specialized jobs is fairly recent. Let’s keep it that way.

        I worked with enough retired colonels to know exactly what I am talking about as far as the culture of the military goes. They carry it on out with them and even reference it.

      4. Kelly_3406


        I suspect that the colonels that you worked with retired many years ago. Those of us that retired recently (i.e. 2016) have seen the culture evolve.

      5. Define many….
        What an insulting thing to say. The colonels I worked with were second career guys who represented all 5 branches of the service.

        You know, if the military was all that freaked enlightened we couldn’t have the horrible reports coming out still about sexual assault. Not all the old colonels and generals have retired.

      6. Kelly_3406


        I am not sure why you think that was insulting. Military culture is always evolving. After a member has been out for perhaps 3-5 years, I would say that his knowledge of how things work in the military is fairly obsolete.

        That may be even more true for colonels and generals, whose last few years in the military can be somewhat segregated from the rank-and-file.

      7. Kelly_3406,

        I am not sure that “plenty” is quantifiable. Until recently, this area of the military was closed off to women.

        Are you telling me there are an equal number of women fighter pilots? Until there are, there is still a gender gap.

      8. Kelly_3406,

        “The problem is that few women applied”

        How many of those women understood that the opportunity was there and that they would get a fair shake on those opportunities. As a father of three girls, one of which wants to be in the male-dominated field of law enforcement, I’m troubled to know that females are viewed as needing more help to achieve what a man does OR that she’s taken other “measures” to succeed.

        I long for the day that my girls get the same opportunity at whatever career she chooses to undertake. I’m not saying that ALL jobs are inequitable, but we are not where we should be, and attitudes that Supervisor Lawson had here does not help matters much.

      9. Joe, thanks for your input. It’s one thing for Lawson to live in her own bubble. It’s another thing for that bubble to help dictate public policy.

        Obviously Ms. Lawson lives a more leisurely life than many women. Rather than belittle them about their choices, perhaps a little hand up would be helpful. I am curious if Ms. Lawson has ever worked and if so, doing what job.

      10. Kelly_3406

        Joe George,

        The AF spends a lot of money to visit schools and discuss opportunities in aviation. Despite all of this, the proportion of civil and military pilots who are female is only about 5% (if memory serves).

        The Airplane Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA) actively promotes females in aviation. Their research shows that females can rarely be enticed to become interested in flying unless they were exposed to the idea (visit a cockpit, orientation flight, aviation open houses, etc) at a very early age ( < 11 yo).

      11. I know this is just one aspect of the situation, but the reputation of how females are treated at the AF academy are hardly enticing. (and the other academies also) Money is also an issue. Additionally, there is the good old boys club regarding flying. Old habits are hard to break.

        Before you scoff at me…I am looking at the good old boys club (regardless of what subject we are talking about) through a different set of eyes than you do. I don’t think I am rabid on the subject either…I am just aware. I am also far more offended because the words came out of Ms. Lawson’s mouth. If Corey or Pete had said what she said I would have rolled my eyes and mentally dismissed them.

        What I see and hear goes far beyond the notion of PC.

        What I notice is that most people aren’t aware of their own mind sets or why things shouldn’t be said.

        Then there is the notion that young women tend to dumb down as adolescence sets in…why is that? I don’t think that one has been solved.

      12. MoonHowler,

        I’m hoping to encourage the Same Gender Program at more middle schools than Woodbridge Middle. This program allows specialized instruction in an environment when some distractions are eliminated. This could allow these organizations (similar to the Airplane Owners and Pilot Association [AOPA]) ample time to provide career options to students, without the opposite gender there to judge and/or tease them.

      13. There are certainly some definite pros to this program. Good luck. I know our mutual friend sure believes in same gender education.

      14. Pat.Herve


        I have personally experienced it (manager) in Sales Engineering and Software Support where woman were paid less than men. The woman were coming in with lower salaries (we would verify all salaries) – and would continue to receive lower salaries. It was not discrimination – it was that they had lower salaries. The company would not just increase a salary to level set the employee – although the lower paid would receive a better raise.

      15. Kelly_3406,

        I am no longer in the work place. I pulled the plug.

        Here is another article you might find interesting.

        I expect Ms. Lawson would also be a denier after reading this article also. I still am in shock that she doesn’t realize how offensive her speech was to many women.

  3. Kelly_3406

    P.S. I do not dispute that there may be gender bias. I am just asking Pat (and you) to share some specific, recent examples for those of us who have not seen it.


      There are some facts. Perhaps the Pew Institute is too liberal for Ms. Lawson.

      Often this kind of gender bias is pernicious.

      1. Kelly_3406


        I have seen this report before. The fact is that this report can be used to confirm whatever preexisting beliefs/biases that the reader has.

        Most of the pay gap DOCUMENTED in this report is structural. Women take more time off, they quit their jobs more often (which means starting over), they turn down more promotions.

        More women do indeed perceive gender bias than men (18% vs 10%), but perception is not the same as reality. There is nothing in this report that demonstrates that Ms Lawson is wrong.

        You BELIEVE that Ms Lawson is not correct. I suspect that you are right, but it would be nice to see some hard facts.

      2. More than wrong, I believe Ms. Lawson was insulting. She basically said that gender inequality pay was a myth. Give me a break. A myth?

        It really doesn’t matter why….gender inequality pay exists. Let’s pretend it doesn’t…then it should still be recognized, the same as Women’s Equality Day. (August 26)

        I don’t know why Lawson chose to insult women, dismiss women, or why she refused to vote for a simple resolution which cost nothing other than good will.

        I doubt if Ms. Lawson is old enough to remember when women were kept from certain institutes of higher learning. I doubt if Ms. Lawson is old enough to remember when women had to quit their jobs if they became pregnant. I doubt if she remembers when women were simply not eligible for certain jobs because they were female. She should be old enough but perhaps she just wasn’t paying attention because it wasn’t about her. That’s the real annoying part.

      3. One more thing, Kelly. It doesn’t matter WHY women are getting paid less. Is that a good thing? No. Frank Principi wasn’t proposing we do anything about it other than acknowledge that the situation exists. If women had equal pay, I wonder what would happen to the welfare roles? Just asking.

        As society, we have gotten better. But we haven’t arrived yet.

  4. Women’s pay is getting better. However, it isn’t yet equal to men’s pay. Maybe it never will be.

    Do we rest on our laurels and say job well done, things have improved? No. Of course not. We strive for full equality. Mr. Principi was right to attempt to pass a resolution.

    Ms. Lawson, Ms. Anderson, Mr. Candland and Mr. Stewart showed their true stripes by rejecting what would have been a FREE bit of good will for the county. Their ideology shows that they truly don’t believe in women’s equality.

    Even if these 4 don’t believe women should make the same amount of money a man does or that women should be hired for the same jobs men are, that’s really not a good stance to take publicly or to impose on Prince William County.

    Ms. Lawson’s speech just sounded so incredibly ignorant. She did her homework? Wrong. She got all the wrong answers if that is the case.

    I understand that Mr. Candland and his male advisors are condescending towards women. I don’t like it or accept it but it just is. I don’t accept that Corey is. He is just trying to get elected and would say or do anything.

    What I don’t understand is women attempting to keep other women down. Two pay-deniers on a board of supervisors means that these women either need to be educated and stop reading the Phyllis Schlaffly book of SELF-OPPRESSION or get voted out of office.

  5. Kelly_3406

    It absolutely does matter WHY women are paid less. If women are paid less due to unfair discrimination, then that is a concern for society that must be corrected. If women are paid less due to their personal choices, then there is not much we can do about it.

    To put this in stark terms, women more often than men make choices that make them less competitive in the employment marketplace. Periods of unemployment, extended leaves of absence, refusing promotions, declining leadership positions are actions that make an employee (man or woman) less valuable than their peers who avoid doing these things. It appears to me (and is backed up by statistical studies) that a higher percentage of female employees do these things than male employees.

    I will give you a personal example. At two different times, I have identified tremendously talented female professionals (scientist in one case; engineer in the other) for promotion. We tried to groom them with the right work assignments and leadership opportunities to position them for the new positions. In both cases, they decided that it took too much time away from their families and declined to be considered further. Men (very talented in their own right) were promoted instead.

    Both cases left a bad taste in my mouth because of the extraordinary amount of time spent on them. It left me pissed off. Both women knew that they were being provided with opportunity for increased salaries and advancement in a highly competitive work environment, but backed out at the last moment.

    So I think it matters a great deal WHY women are paid less.

    1. Women are paid less. The various reasons why really don’t matter as far as denial goes. Micro-examining each reason why simply obfuscates the issue. My issue with Ms. Lawson is that she said gender pay inequality was a myth and if there was any at all (thus blowing the myth argument) it was because of choices women made.

      Ms. Lawson ignores history and facts.

      I think that your examples are well worth discussion. However, I don’t think they are representative of all women or the fact that women make less money on a national level.

      Why did these talented women feel the pressure not to take a good job? Did they not have the support at home? Were they single parents? Maybe they didn’t like “being groomed.” Were the men “groomed” for the job? Men turn down jobs also. Perhaps they don’t want to relocate. Perhaps their spouse’s job throws up conflict for both men and women. More men have custody issues and want to stay near their children.

      I go back to my original premise. Ms. Lawson spoke from her bubble of an upper middle class white woman where she doesn’t HAVE to work. She insulted many women in her little self-centered speech and she didn’t know what she was talking about.

      There are a lot of jobs out there that simply aren’t open to women and they aren’t enough in the limelight to even be seen by Ms. Lawson’s myopic radar.

  6. Kelly_3406

    Here is a great article that confirms the barriers that female scientists face:

    1. Excellent article, Kelly. It bears out a lot of what I thought about the old biases (how do you do away with those?), subtleties, pernicious bias, etc. I wish I had seen this last week. Our ex-law was at the USGS for a week of geologist stuff. We had dinner. Ex-law = my husband’s first wife’s third ex husband.

      Scientists in that field are fairly old school as far as traditions etc go. They probably still call them “girls.” Sigh.

      You know, I don’t disagree that women make choices that can limit income. Lawson’s broad brush just enraged me. She denied there was a problem.

  7. Robin Hood

    Getting back to Lawson herself, you have a perfect example of what you get when a large percentage of voters only shows up once every four years and even that turnout is lower than it should be. This has been going on much longer here than the clown show across the Potomac.

    1. Well, she was the heir apparent in her district…just saying’.
      That’s pretty much what happens when few of the “bosses” railroad a candidate through.

  8. middleman

    Kelly, here’s a link to the “hard facts” that you requested:

    As to the reasons, they probably differ from job to job and even from company to company (and manager to manager). But to deny that a gap exists apart from women choosing lower paying jobs and taking maternity leave, as Ms. Lawson did, is just plain wrong. And to make it a partisan issue, as Lawson, Stewart and Candland did, is insulting to women and girls. So much for “leadership” in PWC…

    1. Bravo. Thanks for the link.

    2. You know, I can forgive Corey for trying to wrap his little carpet-bagging heart around Traveler’s hooves quicker than I can forgive Jeanine Lawson’s ignorant conservative-pandering speech. Lawson’s words smacked me right squarely in the jaw. She lied and she spread faux facts. She demeaned all of us as she babbled on in her insulated little bubble about doing her homework. She deserves an F.

    3. Kelly_3406


      Thanks for the link. These statistics are too macro-scale to provide much understanding into what is really going on. They need to be further separated into sub-categories to reveal the reasons for the disparities. For example, what is the percentage of female doctors that choose lower-paying pediatrics instead of surgery?

      The difference in pay for real estate agents is quite puzzling. There are lots of women in the real estate business. Since pay is based on real-estate sales commission, women should be able to make as much as men if they are good at sales.

      1. Ah ha! Men are go getters. Women are battle axes and bitches.

        Where have you been? re realtors.

      2. middleman


        It’s funny you mentioned real estate. A female friend of mine who’s a commercial broker and a die-hard conservative (a BIG Bob Marshall fan!) went off when we discussed pay discrepancy in her field. She’s fought it her whole career, not to mention being taken seriously with the “boys club” mentality. But she’s a real go-getter and has done quite well.

        I think it all pretty much comes down to the “old school” males out there who are still in charge of a lot of stuff. When those dinosours die out the problem may improve.

      3. Hopefully we will also stop calling similar behaviors by different names, depending on whether than person is male or female. I was glad to see you call your female friend a real go-getter. Not everyone would have been that flattering. Barracuda springs to mind.

  9. middleman

    Frankly, I was surprised by Jeanine’s response. I didn’t know she was such a partisan hack, but her antics during the Occoquan Supervisor election should have been a tip off. And I guess that’s why Ruth went along with the knuckle – dragger crowd this time.

    1. Her antics also took place under the seal of PWC, on PWC property. Not good.

      Lawson has embedded her own political beliefs with PWC. She needs to separate personal from public.

      Public office should be for service, not for advancing your own personal agenda.

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