“The U.S. Senate decided in November not to open debate on a bill to strengthen current law against gender-based wage discrimination.

The Paycheck Fairness Act was supported by President Barack Obama, among others, as a means of closing the pay gap between women and men performing the same job. The act would have allowed workplace conversations about pay, leading to greater transparency and then hopefully, as in the public sector, greater wage parity.

A Nov. 16 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, based in Washington, D.C., found that half of all private sector workers are either expressly prohibited from discussing wage and salary information or that managers discourage them from doing so. Nineteen percent of all private sector employees can be terminated if they bring up the topic of pay with co-workers.”