Loretta Weinberg was embarrassed.
She said as much at a virtual press conference today about a pay equity suit filed in October by five female Rutgers University professors.
Weinberg was the chief sponsor of an equal pay law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy early in his tenure. The measure had been blocked by former Governor Chris Christie.
So the senator from Teaneck definitely had “mixed feelings” when she took part in today’s conference.
That’s because she said she was “embarrassed” that the state university may itself be guilty of sex discrimination.
The suit by the five professors alleges they have been paid “substantially less” than their male counterparts for years.
One of the plaintiffs, Nancy Wolff, a distinguished professor in public policy who directs the Bloustein Center for Survey Research, spoke of a need to change the culture.
For one thing, that’s a catch phrase when it comes to this type of thing.
For another, it seems as if the culture may have needed changing for a long time.
As was pointed out today, it was more than 50 years ago that Rutgers settled an earlier pay equity suit by female professors.
One of the plaintiffs in that action was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late U.S. Supreme Court judge.
Wolff and another plaintiff, communications professor Deepa Kumar, suggested that citing fiscal problems brought on by the pandemic is not a legitimate reason not to pay women fairly.
When the suit was filed about two months ago, the university said in a statement that pay equity is a top priority of new president Jonathan Holloway.
The plaintiffs appear hopeful that Holloway, the first African American president of Rutgers, will address the problem.
But still, as was mentioned today when the Ginsburg connection popped up, the problem has been around for a long time.
Which is precisely why Weinberg was embarrassed.