Gender  pay gap in Delaware  fifth smallest  in the nation.

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A report earlier this fall from the American Association of UniversityWomen placed the state behind California, District of Columbia, New York and Florida. Neighboring Maryland ranked seventh.

The AAUW study was based on U.S. Census figures

Click herefor a report summary.

Even so, the report indicates that women in Delaware make only 87 percent of the pay for their male colleagues. The pay gap is wider for women of color, Native Americans and Hispanic women.

The report points to the use of salary histories and bans on discussing pay in the workplace as aiding in the perpetuation of the pay gap.

The issue is in the news in neighboring Pennsylvania, with Gov. Tom Wolf signing an executive orderbarring salary histories in state hiring. He went on to urge the Legislature to do the same for all women in the state.

Last year, Delaware became the first state in the nation to bar the use of salary histories.

Governor signs bill barring employers from seeking pay history of applicants

Pennsylvania ranked at the national average with women earning 80 percent of the pay of males. The largest pay gap was in Louisiana, where women were paid 69 percent of what men were paid.

The report shows the gap is greatest in higher paid occupations such as physicians, accountants and chief executives.

For decades, it was claimed that the pay gap is the result of women leaving the workforce for a time due to family matters.

While time in the workforce and the ability to work long hours is a factor, it is also true that professions with a large percentage of femalesoften have lower pay scales overall.

The recent teacher strikes in Arizona, Oklahoma and elsewhere were blamed on legislatures and school boards cutting funding and leaving pay gaps that had teachers working second and third jobs to make ends meet.

Teacher pay was more competitive decades agowhen a larger percentage of males were in the profession, critics claim.

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