September 23, 2016

Ban Salary History, Help to Close the Pay Gap

By AAUW Action Network

It’s math, not myth: the gender pay gap is real and persistent. On average, women take home only 80 percent of men’s median earnings and, while the gap has narrowed since passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, progress has largely stalled in the 21st century.

First, the bad news: The gender pay gap develops early in women’s careers and then compounds. Controlling for factors known to affect earnings such as education and training, marital status, and hours worked, research found that college-educated women still take home seven percent less than men just one year out of college – even when they have the same major and occupation as their male counterparts.

The good news? While many factors contribute to this dogged pay gap, there are also many creative solutions to tackle it.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), along with other equal pay champions in the House, recently introduced a bill with one promising solution to help women combat wage discrimination: the Pay Equity for All Act. This commonsense bill would protect job seekers from having to disclose their salary history in order to be interviewed, to be considered for a job offer, or as a condition of employment, and from being retaliated against for refusing to disclose their prior wages. Sounds simple, right?

Employers frequently base salary offers on a candidate's previous pay – which, because of the pay gap, is often lower for women than for men. Over time, those lower salaries add up to huge losses that can affect a family's financial well-being and even a woman's retirement. Simply eliminating the reliance on salary history in setting future wages would go a long way toward closing the pay gap.

Will you take action now to support this important reform? Take action now.

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