Mary Tyler Moore castFifty years ago, Mary Tyler Moore brought a totally new concept to television: an ambitious woman, in her thirties, and single, who wanted a successful career. Women on television were routinely cast as stay-at-home mothers who took care of the children, enjoyed cooking, and provided support for their working husbands.

Not Mary Tyler Moore. She gave women a role model who was prepared to compete on equal terms with her male counterparts. Mary Tyler Moore showed women they could voice their opinions on a myriad of controversial issues, including equal pay, Watergate, and birth control pills. Her show became one of the most successful shows for CBS, and marked a turning point (even if that turn has not yet been completed) for the media’s representation of women and women’s thinking about themselves and their talents, capacities, and ambition.

In honor of Mary Tyler Moore’s many accomplishments and her lifelong legacy of bringing difficult issues to the limelight, we thought you would enjoy (and cringe at) the following dialogue that aired in 1972. After reading this, are you still surprised that women — 45 years later — make only 79% of what men make in the same position?

MTM:  “Let me get this straight. The only reason he was paid more than I am is because he was a man?”
“Mr. [Lou] Grant”:      “Oh sure! It has nothing to do with your work.”
MTM:  “No, no, wait a minute… Because I want to understand this. I’m doing as good a job as he did.”
Lou:      “Better!”
MTM:  “Better! And I’m getting paid less because…?”
Lou:      “You’re a woman.”

How should you ask for a raise? Read our Tip Sheet for the best (and most successful) practices.

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