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Discrimination does play into the gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is a complex issue. The standard number being used right now is 80 percent, saying that women tend to make about 80 cents for every dollar that men earn.

On the outside, this sounds like a clear case of gender discrimination. While discrimination does play into it, some believe it's not responsible for the entire gap.

What they point out is that the 80 percent/20 percent split is typically found when looking at all workers. In general, women earn less. This is true. However, they say that this doesn't always make direct comparisons. Preferences, skills and experience aren't taken into account.

For example, a male chief executive officer is going to earn far more than a female line worker. That's to be expected. However, if a male line worker makes more than a female line worker, and they have the same experience, education and skills, that could signify gender discrimination. Those two workers are almost entirely the same, outside of gender, so it's the logical explanation for the difference.

Even those who claim that the 80 percent figure is misleading do admit that about 25 percent of the gap may be made up by discrimination. They note that the best way to spot potential discrimination is to find workers who are equal in every sense and look for unexplained pay differences between men and women.

If you have the same skills and experience as a co-worker, but you're being paid less because of your gender, this could violate your rights as an employee. You need to know what legal options you have.

Source: Fee.org, "Truth and Myth on the Gender Pay Gap," Steven Horwitz, accessed June 23, 2017

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