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Work/ Career
I am writing with a few questions and hope that you might be able to help me. I am a professional retail manager and while I was still an assistant I was denied equal salary. Actually, they took some of my initial salary away and then when I became a manager, the corporation hired a male assistant for me, and although our backgrounds were quite similiar, they offered him considerably more money, even though the reasoning they gave me for taking my salary back was because assistants weren't supposed to make that much.

I have had more than one potential run in with this company from sexual misconduct to being denied equal advancement opportunities all of which I have swallowed in order to advance my career. I am also hispanic, and after looking at the overall make-up of this companies structure, I am noticing that they in no way meet with any amount of equal representation either a fair percentage of female management, upper management, nor do they meet a fair representation of other minorities in these catagories.

I tell you all of this because I am writing in hopes of securing from you some information on business start up grants for women and minorities. I have searched the Internet and although I have found sites that lend itself to such, all of them want you to purchase a book and then the search starts all over again. If at all possible, could you please either send me information on specific grants or grant agencies for minority women wanting to start a business or direct me to where I might find these specific grants. I have been in management for 10 years now, and I am tired of my ideas becoming the atta-boys of my bosses...who always happens to be male. I have every confidence that I can become a shining success if given the opportunity, and have an idea on a business in dire need, that I know would be an absolute success. I look foreward to your response....and thank you very much! Sincerely, Dori


I'm so sorry to hear that you are being unfairly paid at work. Though I'm glad that you have decide to do something about it. If you look through past Ask Amy's here under the Work section you will see many references to organizations that help women start their own businesses. For instance, the Small Business Administration has lots of information, including information geared toward women and "minorities." (You might try their Office of Women's Business Ownership). Also, there is a group in New York City called the Women's Venture Fund - perhaps they could direct you to similar groups in your neighborhood (212-732-7500).

In Chicago, there is also Connie Evan's program The Women's Self-Employment Project (312-606-8255), which has been recognized by President Clinton as a model program. Those are my first suggestions. You might also take a look at our Women's Careers and Professional Organizations section of links and resources.

On another note, though I think it's great that you are possibly going to leave, I want to encourage you to formally file something with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to document the blatant sex discrimination. If it's not you, it will continue to be someone else until your employers know that they can no longer repeat this pattern.

Good luck on both counts and thanks again for reaching out.


Amy

 

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