A recent article in the Chicago Tribune highlights the contradiction that 70% of U.S. employees (78% of men; 60% of women) believe that men and women are paid equally at their company, while government data ((BLS 2014)) shows that women’s full-time weekly earnings are, on average, 82.5 percent of men’s.

This fact is not due to occupational segregation. A gap exists across all age groups, education levels and a wide variety of industries. ((See info graphic for examples)) The median weekly full-time pay of a female lawyer is 83 percent that of a male lawyer; female education administrators earn 81.4 percent of men with the same title; women computer programmers make 86.6 percent as much as their male counterparts.

What Does this Gap Look Like?

According to the National Women’s Law Center, a woman who works full time over a 40-year period loses about $435,000 in lifetime income, which translates to lower income from Social Security and pensions, and lower savings.

The Push Towards Pay Transparency

The taboo of talking about one’s pay remains strong, findings report nearly 73% of workers feeling uncomfortable talking about their salaries.

To boost transparency, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission at the end of January proposed requiring employers with at least 100 employees to report pay data to identify disparities and potential discrimination so that the public can see aggregate pay for job groups across industries and by gender, race and ethnicity.

Technology is helping! Here are some resources working towards pay transparency: