The first attempt at legally-mandating equal pay was made in 1944, when Congresswoman Winifred Stanley introduced the “Prohibiting Discrimination in Pay on Account of Sex” Act. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, which prohibits wage discrimination by employers and labor organizations based solely on sex.
In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, which makes it unlawful to discriminate based on an individual’s race, color, religion, or sex. It also prohibits the treatment of women in a discriminatory manner when it comes to terms, conditions, and compensation.
Overall, however, women in the United States are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. Three of the most significant contributors to this disparity are women’s lack of negotiating skills, the bias women face from employers, and the penalty women suffer for becoming mothers.