How To End the Wage Gap Between Men and Women

Gender discrimination, Hegewisch said, is also not a priority for policymakers at the federal level.

If more women were involved in policymaking, the wage gap would likely receive more attention, but getting women into office has been a slow process. The number of women in Congress is far from proportional to the country's female population.

Another simple solution, but a key one, is that hiring and promoting women needs to be a priority for companies. And, according to Hegewisch, it simply isn't right now.

Coca Cola, Hegewisch said, is one major company that has been successful in this arena. The company created a program in 2007 aimed at advancing women into leadership positions.

"We believe women are the real drivers of the 21st century and will play a transformative role in shaping the global economy," wrote a spokeswoman for the soda giant in an email. "Our goal is to achieve true diversity."

The company is also an example that improvement is possible. Coca Cola paid more than $150 million to settle a racial discrimination case in 2000, and agreed to appoint a panel charged with holding the company accountable for hiring and promoting more minorities and women.

The company's desire to change, however it was sparked, has resulted in tangible improvement. Hegewisch hopes to see that at the national level, but noted that the country has a long way to go before that's a reality.

"[The gender wage gap] is not seen as a problem by policy makers," Hegewisch said. "We know what goes wrong and we know the tools and how to design it so it shouldn't be such a problem, but it's not really very high on the agenda."

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