The gender pay gap is real, and the reasons it persists are complex and varied. The first step to closing it is to understand where we are right now, in terms of pay equity for women. Recently, the AAUW (The …
On average, U.S. women make $.74 on the dollar compared to men.
Some studies say more, and some less. But the fact that women earn less than men in general is not a myth; it's an inarguable fact.
That said, it's a fact that's used out of context or misunderstood. A lot.
While it's true that, typically, women make less than men for doing the same jobs, that discrepancy is not nearly as large as the $.74 to the dollar figure. This oft-cited figure comes from the fact that men and women tend to hold different jobs.
Equal Pay Day is the date when women's pay symbolically "catches up" with men's earnings from the previous year. This year, April 12 is the big day: the average woman has now made as much money, from Jan 1, 2015 until today, as the average man did by New Year's Eve 2015.
There are a lot of reasons why women earn less than men. PayScale's report, Inside the Gender Pay Gap, show that even in similar roles, controlling for education, experience, and hours worked, women make less money than men. Unconscious bias is a factor, as is "job choice"; women are more likely than men to work at low-paying jobs, and less likely than men to be in leadership roles.