This story is part of Fast Company‘s Gender Pay Gap package “Short Changed.”

In honor of Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day that women have to work for free to match men’s earnings, we are exploring elements of pay inequality though the personal stories of women across industries and career stages who experience it every day. Click here to read the whole series. Rita Kakati Shah was thinking about returning to work after three and a half years of raising her two children. Armed with 15 years of experience in the financial sector and the pharmaceutical industry (including a 10-year stint at Goldman Sachs), she decided to start the process by attending a networking event. When it came to putting down her place of employment in her name tag, she wrote SAHM, which stood for “stay-at-home mom.” She started talking to another attendee, and when that attendee discovered what SAHM stood for, she turned around and walked away. “I stood there thinking, …

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