Despite continual payroll management initiatives and increasing awareness, there is still a gender pay gap in the U.S. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), there has been little movement in women's earnings for a full decade, with women still making 77 cents to the dollar their male counterparts earn. The best city to be a working woman is Washington, D.C., where women are paid 90 percent of what men are paid, and the worst area for women to work is Wyoming, where they only earn 64 percent of what men do. In fact, women make even less as they age, and the pay gap even exists in female-dominated and gender-balanced occupations, according to the AAUW.
To combat this ongoing problem, President Barack Obama recently signed an executive order preventing federal contractors from retaliating against employees who communicate with one another about their pay. Fox News reported the president's action seeks to open transparency in pay within certain parts of the federal government. President Obama also urged the U.S. Department of Labor to consider opening up compensation data of its federal contractors.
Retaliation because workers discuss pay continues to be a common issue, according to Forbes. Many women feel they can't talk about compensation with their co-workers for fear of getting fired, Forbes reported. This problem is at the center of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to right the issue of retaliation and has 207 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 55 in the Senate. Forbes reported the part of the Paycheck Fairness Act currently in effect only covers 22 percent of the workforce.
There has been some criticism about the president's move, as people have said a pay gap remains in the White House as well. Of the 16 federal department heads, 10 are women, and Fox News reported a White House aid has said men and women working in equivalent positions in the White House earn the exact same salaries.
However, the federal government does have an issue with a pay gap. According to a report recently issued by the Office of Personnel Management, there was a gender pay gap of 12.7 percent in 2012 among white-collar occupations, including the federal government. While there is some discrepancy in the data – such as uneven distribution of men and women across industries – it showcases how effective payroll management remains a key focus for the government and employers in the future.