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The Editors

A Gag Rule Won't Help Women Advance

Laws that ban employers from asking job applicants about their previous salary won't close the pay gap.
The salary question.

The salary question.

Photographer: ullstein bild via Getty Images

Paying women less than men is not only unfair but counterproductive. Women and men alike prefer to work for -- and work harder for -- companies that pay equally. Yet women who hold down the same jobs as men, with the same qualifications, still generally earn less.

So it makes sense to continue to try to close the gap. But one effort that's becoming popular in some cities is heavy-handed: prohibiting companies from asking job applicants about their previous salaries. That's the law in Philadelphia, Puerto Rico and Massachusetts, and legislation is under consideration in many more states, cities and Congress.