The lack of equal pay has long been an issue and source of outcry in society. Why is it that when a man and woman work the same job with the same responsibilities, historically the man’s bank account fills up faster? Behind rallying cries against pay disparity is the oft-quoted mentions of how much money women makes, projected against the value of the dollar bill. When a man is making a dollar, how many cents fill a woman’s pocket?

Besides tracing the exact number of cents, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has put in decades of work into studying the economic movements that women have experienced. As one can assume, it hasn’t always been encouraging work. For instance, they have seen the common number that people say fits in the blank to be: “82 cents.” But the IWPR has discovered the actual, far more dismal truth.

Women earn about half as much as men

It’s a measly 49 cents! Can you believe that 82 cents was being optimistic? In recent years the IWPR has uncovered the frightening reality of the pay gap and the economic ramifications that have resulted. One principal ramification is the fact that a substantial number of women could actually be brought out of poverty provided equal pay. The research also shows a head-shaking, sigh-inducing prediction. Progress as it stands will see white women achieving pay equity by the year 2059. That sound rough? For women of color the wait time is substantially longer. More details, few of them encouraging, can be found in their official reports.

Asking coworkers about pay isn’t against the rules

For some, the main way to discover unequal pay in comparison to male counterparts is by asking those male counterparts about their pay. While in social situations discussing this may be uncouth, talking about pay grade with coworkers violates zero rules. If anything, it helps keep an employer accountable.

What’s more, regulation like the Equal Pay Act is set up to prevent unequal pay from occurring. Isn’t it strange that 2059 is the predicted pay equity goal for one demographic, but this piece of law came to be in the 1960s?

No matter how you found out about unequal pay, it likely created a sense of surprise and frustration. Whether or not you’ve approached your boss about it already, it can still feel like a delicate matter to navigate. Seeking out counsel to help vet your approach, whether it be talking to a superior or gathering evidence for a claim, can help you find out more on the “why” of the case, and seek a more positive result.