Women are consistently paid less than men in Illinois and other states, and Tuesday's observance of Equal Pay Day sought to call attention to this persistent inequity.
Christianne Corbett with the American Association of University Women says females in Illinois earn just 79 percent of what males are paid.
"The pay gap is found in every occupation, at every education level, and including women with children, women without children, every race and ethnicity," says Corbett. "It's really something that cuts across all these different categories."
Corbett says Illinois women earn, on average, just over $40,000 a year compared to the more than $51,000 a year paid to men. When those figures are broken down into minority status, she says it gets even worse, with African American females earning 65 percent of what a male makes, and Latino women making about 55 percent.
Corbett suggests women brush up on their negotiating skills, and discuss their pay rate with their boss - but she says employers also have vital role to play.
"Taking a look at their own pay within their companies is a first step employers can take, because many employers want to do the right thing," she says. "They don't want to discriminate against women, and they just may not realize there is a difference between the amount of money they are paying their male and female employees. "
Corbett says the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was introduced last month in both houses of Congress, would help to narrow the gap.
"The Paycheck Fairness act would close loopholes and strengthen incentives to prevent pay discrimination," she says. "And it would prohibit retaliation against workers who ask about employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages."
When the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law, women were making only 59 cents for every dollar a man made. While the ratio is improving, the pay gap is not expected to close for Illinois women until 2058.