More than a decade ago, Boeing Co. (BA
) quietly began investigating an explosive internal issue: whether female employees were paid less than men. Several sophisticated salary studies concluded that the answer was yes. One 1998 report said "men are more likely to be hired into the high paying positions." A statistical analysis completed the same year noted that the pay gap for entry-level managers was $3,741.04.
Although she knew nothing of these sensitive analyses, Carol Jensen would not have found them surprising. The 64-year-old technical drafter had long complained that women were underpaid. "We were treated with little respect," recalls the mother of nine, who started working at Boeing in 1967 and was laid off in 2000. "The men believed that the only work for women at Boeing was behind a desk as a secretary."