In Seibert's time with the company, the staff of the average Penney store was 75 percent women. These women were mostly married and middle-aged, and many could teach the male executives everything about their departments. While retail doesn't pay well (and pays women less than men), most women liked working at Penney's for two reasons. Despite the double standard, there was dignity in the job and it didn't cost them much to wear different dresses every day. Also, the additional discounts they got off sale and clearance things meant real bargains for their families.
But Seibert kept imagining his Verna working there behind a counter, his dear wife earning less than her male counterparts for doing as much or more work. The unfairness contributed to his efforts as chairman (19741983) to improve the status of women  and minorities. Juanita Kreps joined the board. When she became secretary of the treasury under Jimmy Carter, Jane Pfeiffer from CBS replaced her and remains on the board to this day. Minorities also appeared in the Penney catalog for the first time (bringing hate mail), and minority suppliers became a significant source of merchandise.
 Seibert served on the first board at Catalyst, the nonprofit women-in-business advocate, which is discussed in a later chapter.