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Pursuits

What Changed This Week for Women in the Workforce

President Barack Obama is flanked by Lilly Ledbetter (left) and other women while signing an executive order banning federal contractors from retaliating against employees during an event in the East Room of the White House on April 8 in Washington.
President Barack Obama is flanked by Lilly Ledbetter (left) and other women while signing an executive order banning federal contractors from retaliating against employees during an event in the East Room of the White House on April 8 in Washington.Photograph by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

As college graduation dates approach and students prepare to be kicked into the workplace for the first time, many young strivers turn their focus to securing a good salary. Women, who make an average of 77¢ for every dollar men do, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, have it especially hard when it comes to getting paid.

For women, learning to aptly negotiate—a crucial aspect of long-term professional success—is replete with obstacles. They’re often cited for being too meek to advocate for themselves, but then marked as difficult when they do make strong demands. Negotiating is bound to be uncomfortable, but this week a refreshed focus on the gender pay gap yielded a few new tools for young professional women trying to navigate the politics of payday.