Equal Pay Day Explainer

Equal Pay

In the U.S., women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, and that’s before you start dicing and slicing by industry, race, disability, the list goes on.

It’s Equal Pay Day, and it's as good time as ever to review what history can tell us about our progress to close the wage gap in the U.S. and what can be done today. In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we’ll also be bringing you some tips and tools to level up on your finances.

Equal pay is a timely and timeless topic. 

So timeless, in fact, that it’s been brought to the attention of Congress in the form of The Paycheck Fairness Act 12 times in the last 20 years alone. It was passed by House Democrats just earlier this year.

If enacted, this bill would do three big things:

  1. Ban employers from asking candidates how much they made in previous jobs
  2. Ditch employer rules that keep workers from disclosing salary
  3. Require employers to be transparent about pay

The act would provide transparency all across salaries.

While the bill hasn’t been turned into law, here’s where U.S. stands in terms of the wage gap today.

Compared to three years ago, today we see a 2.6 percentage point shrink in the pay gap. And while more than 60 percent of this wage gap can be explained, there a good 30+% that has yet to be accounted for. 

Where are we seeing these discrepancies in pay? Glassdoor used its database to give us a breakdown. Two industries tie for the widest gender pay gaps: Retail and Media at 6.4 percent.

The smallest pay gap is for the biotech, pharmaceuticals industries and the anomaly of the bunch: education.

So what can you do right now to ensure you’re getting a fair slice of the pie?

  • Get informed! Sites like Glassdoor offer helpful tools to find average salaries for careers, by role, location and more.
  • Up your negotiation skills! There are paid and free workshops available online, including ones on Glassdoor
  • Get involved! AAUW suggests attending a panel or hosting a forum to discuss wage gap issues

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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