Many women in the workplace have known for a long time that they earn less than their male colleagues when doing comparable work. However, the statistic that is usually reported regarding the wage gap—that women make 80 cents to a male colleague’s dollar—is actually incorrect, according to a new study. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research reports that, over a long-term period of 15 years, women make half the pay that their male coworkers receive.
To study the gender wage gap in the United States, researchers analyzed data from the years 2000 to 2015 regarding the salaries of men and women. They found that, when measuring total earnings over that 15-year span, woman earn 49 cents to men’s dollar. The data indicate that the gender wage gap is in fact a staggering 51 percent.
Female employees do have legal options
While many female employees are aware that they make less than their male counterparts, even while doing the same job, some do not know that this practice is unlawful. In fact, it can be a form of gender discrimination. It is against the law for employers to discriminate against women by paying them lower wages because of their gender.
Future generations of female employees may not have to worry about discrimination in the workplace. But for today’s workers, this is a very pressing problem. Women who realize that their employers are paying them lower wages than they are men may have a case for gender-based workplace discrimination. Victims may be eligible for compensation based on compensatory damages like lost wages and punitive damages for their employer’s actions.