According to many sources of reputable statistics (giving the benefit of the doubt), the average woman in the United States earns about 80 cents on the dollar of what the average man earns?
But, once we start breaking down these large aggregates of averages down to different subsets, we can see more reasons for the numbers. What are the largest factors that make women in the average earn less?
Disaggregating the data:
Is age a factor?
Why don't greedy businesses hire only women and save on cheap labor?
How much does marriage and family affect the dollars? (hint: a lot!)
Questions to consider if trying to "close the gap" by social policy:
What about biological differences?
How do we handle the needs of children?
Do geographical and demographical factors complicate the issue?
What about non-monetary compensation that some value over others?
Would we stifle the unique traits and personalities of individuals?
Would we be fighting a never-ending battle and unintentionally cause poverty?