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How many women, mothers, grandmothers have worked a limited budget at Wal-Mart? The majority of the customers who take to the aisles after work or over the weekend to stock up on family necessities are low-to-middle-income women. Even two-thirds of the all the employees and a third of the managers are women.

Wal-Mart is a female-driven empire.

But according to a lawsuit, known as Dukes v. Wal-Mart, female employees have racked up few benefits, have been consistently bypassed for promotion and have received far less pay than men doing the same jobs. The lawsuit has been moving slowly to say the least, it first started in 2001. Now, since gaining more national attention, the case is likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The lawsuit is named for Betty Dukes, who began working for Wal-Mart in Pittsburg, Calif., in 1994. After 16 years, she is still there and makes about $31,000 a year. She told The New York Times it was hard to find another job when you’re in the spotlight.

Since this case involves the largest private employer trying to shoot down the largest employment discrimination class-action lawsuit in American history, it got me thinking about women and how much power we have. What if women stopped shopping at stores that didn’t treat their female employees fairly? Would these stores shut down?

The suit was filed nine years ago and has been ignored and pushed under the rug because the stakes are high. This could cost the retail chain over $1 billion in damages and could set the standards for suits that follow it.

So why would the powers that be take the time to recognize that you can’t let a woman train a man on the job and then promote him before promoting her. It doesn’t make sense and it’s not fair. Employers that take advantage of their workers need to pay.

Word is that there have been vast improvements when it comes to hiring female managers within the company, but is it too little, too late?

Looks like the Supreme Court will have to decide.

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