This website requires JavaScript.

Evróputilskipun um gagnsæi í launum | Sækja rafbók hér.

Coffee Talk

#40 - A mayor’s pay discrimination case: Astrid Siemes-Knoblich

In this week’s Coffee Talk, Henrike speaks with Astrid Siemes-Knoblich. Astrid served as mayor of her town in southwestern Germany. After her term was over, she realized that her predecessor and her successor — who were both men — were paid more than she was.

As Astrid explains, the town council can choose either a high or a low salary bracket for the mayor. This choice should be made based on the job conditions, like the town size and how complicated the town’s projects are. These conditions were the same for Astrid as they were for her predecessor and her successor. Yet the town council put her in the low salary bracket and the other two mayors in the high bracket.

Astrid took her pay discrimination case to court. After two years, she just won the case on March 3.

Astrid says she has been surprised by the support. She estimates that about eighty percent of her fellow townspeople have responded positively to her win. She sees court cases like hers as valuable because they are a way for people to hear about fair pay and see women standing up for themselves. And this can be empowering for other women in the workforce, especially younger ones, who are experiencing pay discrimination. “When we don’t talk about it, then the next generation doesn’t know,” she says.

Astrid hopes her case will make employers think, too. “They should deal transparently with these things. Talk about salaries, talk about compensation, and don’t let it come to the point where people have to go to court. Start earlier!”

Friday Coffee Talk from Planet Fair is a podcast/videocast series co-hosted by PayAnalytics founder Margrét Bjarnadóttir and Henrike Von Platen, founder and CEO of the FPI Fair Pay Innovation Lab in Berlin. It is available through all podcast platforms as well as on YouTube as a videocast.

Sjá alla Coffee Talk þætti