The gap in sales agent compensation in 1995 was 45.9% and reps for financial and business services had a gap of 30.8%. The mid-1990s saw at least two landmark discrimination lawsuits brought against two major industry firms, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. The suits accomplished little in terms of improving the pay gap and ending discrimination. Another suit was filed against Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2010 accusing the firm of paying male advisors bigger bonuses and giving male advisors better career opportunities.
 
Another observation by a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania is the fact that numbers of women advisors seem to be more concentrated in lower-paying firms. Women also may get fewer and worse accounts when accounts get distributed by management after a male producer leaves the firm.
 
The sociologist also found that women were equally skilled at making sales as their male counterparts. Her study will be published in the June issue of Gender & Society.

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