Missouri's gender wage gap is one of the highest in the country

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COLUMBIA - While the wealthy may seem to have more than enough financial stability, wages between men and women in that tax bracket still remain unequal.

The gender wage gap refers to the difference in the amount of money women make versus men. This gap exists in every state in America, but it happens to be extremely wide in Missouri for the top 2 percent of earners, according to research by members of Congress.

With those numbers, the research highlights that even the wealthiest people in the United States still experience the gap.

In regards to the top 2 percent of earners, Missouri is currently the seventh-worst state for the gender wage gap.

In Missouri, women in the top 2 percent of earners make 66.41 percent less than men in the same bracket.

The gap in Kansas is at 39.53 percent, and Illinois' gap is just under Missouri's at 66.34 percent.

And while Missouri ranks pretty high, Wyoming ranks the highest with a gender wage gap of 71.76 percent.

The Women's Network, an affiliate of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, focuses its programs on building relationships with businesses that encourage pay equity. 

Veteran's United Home Loans is one of those businesses. It's based out of Columbia, and prides itself on its gender neutral employment and pay rates. It was named one of the best places for women to work by Fortune Magazine. In fact, 51 percent of the employees are women.

Michele Batye, chair of the Women's Network, said, "One of the things we can do is get the word out that there is a problem. And find what companies are causing that problem."

But she also said she believes forces outside of employers influence the gap. 

"The gender gap a lot of times can be caused by women coming in and out of the workforce. They leave or raise their families and then come back in and sometimes there's that gap," Batye said. 

Batye acknowledged the problem but didn't think it's something that's easily solved. 

"I don't have the solution to it, but I think making people aware of the problem and how we can work through it, is a good first step."

The national average across all pay-grades is 20 percent. According to research by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, women make $0.76 to the man's dollar.