In 2013, women earned 78.3 cents for every dollar men earned, according to a recent Census Bureau report. That's 1.8 cents higher than what women earned in 2012, but the gap has remained relatively steady for more than a decade. Aggregate this pay gap over the course of a woman's 40-year career, Silverman says, and you find that the average woman loses about $435,000. Multiply that by the nearly 69 million working women and you get nearly $30 trillion.
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If the campaign, which launched Wednesday in partnership with advertising firm Droga5, reaches the goal by the end of October—which, clearly, is unlikely—she says the sum will be divvied up equally to every American woman. If not, all donations will benefit the National Women's Law Center, a nonprofit that advocates for equal pay legislation such as the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was blocked by Senate Republicans twice this year.
The act would have made it illegal for companies to punish employees who raise concerns about wage discrimination and would require firms to prove that wage gaps are related to professional credentials and not discriminatory factors.