Women Win Sexual Discrimination Suit

After 22 years of litigation and 15 years after a judge’s ruling that the Voice of America (VOA) — part of the U.S. Information Agency — was guilty of sexual discrimination, eight women have finally received compensation. Each woman was paid approximately $485,000 in the largest gender discrimination suit ever against the U.S. government.

Originally, the lawsuit claimed that during the years 1974-1984, VOA had not hired women on the basis of their sex for positions including: writers/editors, foreign language broadcasters, foreign information specialists, production specialists, radio broadcast technicians, and electronic technicians. Evidence was found that VOA “destroyed records, altered grades on hiring exams, tossed out applications from women into trash cans and misled women about why they were rejected.” The special master of the case noted that “The evidence suggests a ‘good old boy’ network with deep roots.”

The government fought the lawsuit with vigor, appealing it twice and taking it to the Supreme Court. On Monday, the U.S Treasury finally paid the women money.

Jahanara Hasan, now 56, said, “Everyone is very happy. The government has accepted the fact that they did something very, very wrong.”


Washington Post - June 29, 1999

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