4 Shocking Gender Inequalities American Women Still Face Today

In 1923, suffragist leader Alice Paul of the National Woman's Party introduced the idea of the Equal Rights Amendment as the next step toward creating equal justice under law for all women.

More than four decades later, the amendment was finally passed by Congress and sent to the states to be ratified on March 22, 1972 thanks to a wave of feminist organization and a collective movement toward equality.

But unfortunately there is still much work to do around the world and in the U.S. to reach absolute gender equality. Here are four shocking truths about inequality that American women still face today.

1. As women take over male-dominated fields, the pay is dropping
New research suggests work done by women isn't valued as much in today's workforce as work done by men. A recent study conducted with U.S. census data from 1950 to 2000 reveals that as women enter a field in greater numbers, the pay declines regardless of education, work experience, skills, race, and geography.

2. By the time a college-educated woman turns 59, she will have lost almost $800,000 throughout her life due to the gender wage gap
According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, losses from the gender wage gap increase for women with higher levels of education. In their report titled, "Status of Women In The States: 2015," an average working woman in the U.S. loses more than $530,000 over her lifetime due to the gender wage gap.

3. The U.S. is the only "high income, developed country" that does not mandate paid leave for new mothers
Most Americans are covered by the Family Medical Leave Act, which permits workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for family members. According to an analysis by the WORLD Policy Analysis Center, out of 188 nations studied, nearly half offer paid leave to new parents, including Saudi Arabia.

4. Nearly all of the United Nations member states have ratified a treaty considered the "international bill of rights for women," except the U.S.
The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the UN in 1979. It's considered the biggest treaty guaranteeing specific rights for women and girls since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was established in 1948 and it promises to end discrimination, ensure equality, and fight against violence. The U.S. is a CEDAW treaty signatory, but two-thirds the Senate must still vote in favor of it.

NEXT: Sheryl Sandberg Says We're More Than 100 Years Away From Gender Equality »

Related Stories:
Definitive Moments of American Women in Politics
8 National Park Sites You Didn't Know Were Dedicated to Women's History

Photo Credit: Barbara Freeman/Getty Images