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Does the pay gap between women and men continue?

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After all these years, and after all the fighting for women's rights, you'd think that it would be easy to enact legislation that ensured women received equal pay compared to their male coworkers. However, the pay gap continues.

Even though laws do exist to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex in American workplaces, women still get the short end of the stick. Perhaps this is a sign that lawmakers need to update the current federal anti-discrimination rules to ensure that women are fairly treated. Perhaps it's also a sign that more women need to speak up and hold their employers financially accountable for discriminatory practices.

What do the statistics say about pay inequality?

National statistics show that women make up approximately 50 percent of the American workforce. Also, they are either a co-breadwinner or the sole breadwinner for 50 percent of U.S. families with kids. Nevertheless, women consistently earn less than men. Statistics from 2016, for example, show that women earned an average of 19.5 percent less.

It doesn't appear to matter the occupation, either. If you zero in on jobs that women traditionally do versus jobs that men traditionally do, the pay differential is a whopping 66 percent less in traditionally female roles versus traditionally male roles.

According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), slow progress is being made to bring female pay rates up to the rates of their male colleagues. However, the progress is so slow that it will take another 41 years before pay rates equalize. Unfortunately, for women of color, it will take even longer than that.

Make sure you're receiving equal pay

Lawmakers are constantly trying to tweak existing legislation in ways that support women's right to receive equal pay rates. However, the problem won't be solved overnight. But existing laws do offer women protection from workplace discrimination on the basis of their sex.

If you're a female worker who suspects that she's been discriminated against by unequal pay rates, you may want to learn more about what you can do to receive the same rate of pay as your male counterparts.

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