It’s 2017, and much progress is being made to ensure that fair treatment in the workplace is common across the board. However, despite equality becoming more prevalent in some ways, the fact remains: there is still an unfair gender pay gap at stake. And while many employers, particularly those in the public sector like the United States Postal Service have made huge strides towards gender equality in the last decade, the private sector has not kept up its end of the bargain.

A timely resource by The American Association of University Women (AAUW) points out some disheartening hard facts:

  • In the U.S., the typical pay gap of 80 percent still exists; women on average still earn 80 cents on the dollar compared to men.
  • In some states, such as Wyoming, the pay gap is as extreme as 64 cents on the dollar.
  • The figures that represent the pay gap for women of color is even worse, ranging from 54 to 62 percent in many cases.   

It’s clear that there is still a huge gender gap in the “land of opportunity.” But where are the biggest problem areas? And what can we do to make progress and promote change?

The Problem Areas of Business and Unfair Pay

While there has certainly been a rise in women working business and tech jobs in the last several decades, the rates of equal pay are still playing catch up. The biggest problem areas that still exist in business and the lapse in pay rates are shown in a post by Forbes:

  • Finance and Insurance: 29.1% discrepancy
  • Public Administration: 25.6 % discrepancy
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: 25.2% discrepancy
  • Health Care and Social Assistance: 23.3% discrepancy
  • Mining, Quarrying, and Oil/Gas Extraction: 22.8% discrepancy
  • Information: 22.1% discrepancy
  • Retail Trade: 20% discrepancy
  • Management of Companies/Enterprises: 19.4% discrepancy
  • Manufacturing: 18.8% discrepancy
  • Utilities: 18.3% discrepancy

Additionally, the U.S. ironically ranks near the top of countries with the biggest pay gap. The land of opportunity seems to make attaining the “American Dream” more difficult for women.

There’s simply no excuse for these large discrepancies and corollary pay gap. Women working these types of business and tech careers are just as integral as their male coworkers. However, misconceptions, unfair stigmas, misogyny, and sexism are still getting in the way of fair pay.

On the Big Screen

Another example of a major fair pay barrier is the pay discrepancy among actors and actresses.

In the world of film, the statistics don’t look much better for women. On average, actresses are paid about 72 percent less than male actors. This is typically similar or even identical across the different lines of work within film and acting.

Facts such as this show women, who are already usually underrepresented in film, are also underpaid on the acting front.

Advocating for Change: Higher Ed and Promising Areas of Study

You may be asking: “But what can I do to help dismantle this unfair pay gap?” There are numerous ways to help shrink the wage gap.

  • Get well versed by choosing to pursue women and gender studies.
  • Watch films and shows that are focused on the stories and representation of women.
  • Push for paid sick day legislation.  
  • Be encouraging of women to discuss pay with superiors and co-workers.
  • Help subsidise childcare costs in any way possible, including offering to help watch children when families you know are in need.
  • Advocate and speak out about the wage gap through protests and social media platforms.
  • Smash the patriarchy in every way you can and call out sexism in the workplace.

There is much progress to be made in pushing for equal pay, but positive change is possible if everyone chimes in. For more information on ways to help end the wage barriers familiarize yourself with the concepts in this National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) resource.