OPRAH Winfrey the African American media mogul has revealed in an interview with the TIME magazine how she forced her bosses to close the gender pay gap among her staff when she was hosting The Oprah Winfrey Show.
The show, which was aired nationally for 25 seasons from September 8, 1986 to May 25, 2011 was hugely successful. However, behind the scenes Oprah was appalled by the fact that her female staff were not being paid equal to their male counterparts.
“I was making a lot of money, and my producers were still getting the same salary,” Oprah said. “I went to my then boss and said, ‘Everybody needs a raise’. He said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Because we’re now a national show, and I’m making money,” Oprah recalls. “And he actually said to me, ‘They’re only girls. They’re a bunch of girls. What do they need more money for?'”
Oprah told TIME that she responded to her boss by threatening to strike, saying, “‘Well, either my producers are going to get raises or I’m going to sit down. I just won’t work. I will not work unless they get paid more money.'”
After some back-and-forth, Oprah’s bosses eventually met her demands, granting pay raises to her staff. “While I was waiting for the bosses to pay them, I paid them myself in the interim,” she said.
With a net worth of US$3 billion, Oprah is the only African-American billionaire in the US and one of the richest self-made women on the Forbes Billionaires List.