More than 30 years ago, seven women journalists, with the help of what is now the News Media Guild/NewsGuild-CWA Local 31222, filed a lawsuit against the Associated Press, winning a $2 million settlement that provided for back pay, training, promotion goals, and bonuses for AP's female and black journalists. When the women sued, the average annual salary for male reporters was about $20,000 compared to about $16,000 for women.
The NewsGuild-CWA interviewed the women as part of its ongoing equal pay project, which includes analyses of pay at publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post. Martha Waggoner, the international chairperson of The NewsGuild-CWA and a 35-year employee of the Associated Press, wrote about the lawsuit for Poynter.
"I'd love to say that everything's fine now," Virginia Sherlock, one of the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit said. "But it's not. Women and minorities are still not at the same pay level. I can say with some measure of satisfaction that huge steps have been taken...But c'mon, what is it, 40 years? We can do better."