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Apple, Facebook, other major companies commit to paying women the same as men

Laura Bassett writes, :The White House announced Friday that 29 new private sector companies ― including Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Target, Visa and General Motors ― have signed a pledge committing to closing the gender pay gap for their employees.

'Women employees at Apple earn one dollar for every dollar male employees earn,' Apple said in a statement. 'We’re now analyzing the salaries, bonuses, and annual stock grants of all our employees worldwide. If a gap exists, we’ll address it.'

Women working full time in the United States earn an average of 79 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the most recent Census Bureau data. The gap is much worse for African American women, who are paid only 63 cents for every dollar paid to white men. 

While some of the gender wage gap can be attributed to other factors, such as women leaving the workforce periodically to care for children or choosing lower-paying careers, several recent studies have suggested that pay discrimination is still a big problem. A 2014 survey of recent college graduates found that women and men with the same college major and job had an unexplained 7 percent wage gap just one year after graduation. That gap grew to 12 percent over the course of a decade. 

Another study found that male doctors with the same 'age, experience, specialty, faculty rank, and measures of research productivity and clinical revenue' were paid about $20,000 more a year than their female colleagues. 

Democrats in Congress have tried four times to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would impose harsher penalties for pay discrimination and require employers to be able to show that wage gaps between men and women are based on factors other than gender. But Republicans continually block those efforts, criticizing the bill as bad for business and a handout to trial lawyers."

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