Microsoft says male-female pay gap virtually zero

Even when a woman does ask the boss for a raise experts say there are gender differences that can work against them

Patricia Arquette joined MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell to discuss National Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, during which the Academy Award-winning actress declared a "breaking point" in the fight for wage equality.

Women earn an average of 79 cents for every dollar that a man makes.

So that's the headline number. A few pennies here, a few pennies there - it may not sound like a lot, but a 14-cent gap amounts to a $12,000 difference in annual earnings. That's all part of the story.

In 2015, the gender pay gap is narrower than any recorded year ever. (In other words, if you choose to work in retail over technology, you can expect a smaller salary.) The whopping 80 percent that is not explained by experience, age, race, education, industry, or occupation. It's at least 10 cents per dollar, and more like 21 cents if you accept that most of the mitigating factors are gender-based as well.

Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette joined U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Equal Pay Day to highlight the findings of a new Congressional report on the wage gap between men and women in the United States.

What's more, it seems that women can not always choose to make more than men by shifting into a higher-paying field. This year, the Women's Caucus is advocating for the passage of Assembly Bill 1676 (Campos), to prohibit past salary history from being used to determine a new salary.

"Just like states already have unemployment insurance and workers compensation, we can set up a program similar to that here in Washington state, and we're working very hard to make that happen", says Watkins. It is shameful, and it is inexcusable, that women are still paid less than men in this country.

The pay disparity has persisted despite federal and state laws barring discrimination in how men and women are compensated for the same jobs.

In Silicon Valley, this wage gap persists. The women on our national soccer team are some of the most successful American athletes alive and even THEY have to deal with the pay gap.

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