*This article originally appeared on PayScale.

Today, roughly 56 per cent of the U.S. workforce is made up of women. Despite these numbers, recent research on the gender pay gap has shown that there is no industry in which women earn more than men.

It’s even more complicated for women is to work in a male-dominated field like the tech industry, where computing jobs held by women are  expected to decline from 24 per cent to 22 per cent over the next 10 years.

But for those women in tech that are struggling to feel valued in the modern boys’ club, it’s more important than ever to negotiate salary. Here’s why.

The odds are against you 

No matter which way you slice it, women simply earn less than men in North America. To investigate how gender relates to pay, PayScale surveyed over 1.4 million people, taking into account uncontrolled (all men vs. all women) and controlled (accounting for education, experience, etc.) pay gaps. Here is what they found:

  • Uncontrolled gender pay gap: Women earn 25.6 per cent less (74 cents on the dollar)
  • Controlled gender pay gap: Women earn 2.7 per cent less (97 cents on the dollar)

When it comes to tech, which is male-dominated at all levels, PayScale found that even though salaries tend to be higher for both men and women, the gender pay gap still exists. For perspective, let’s take a look at the gender pay gap in tech for two common job levels: individual contributor and manager.

Individual contributors in tech
  • Controlled gender pay gap: Women earn 1.2 per cent less than men.
  • Uncontrolled gender pay gap: Women earn 18.8 per cent less than men.
Managers in tech
  • Controlled gender pay gap: Women earn 1.1 per cent less than men.
  • Uncontrolled gender pay gap: Women earn 21.9 per cent less than men.
Your pay gap will increase as you get promoted

When working women get promoted, and their careers begin to advance, the gender pay gap increases. Looking at the controlled gender pay gap, PayScale illustrated how job level affects the gap.

  • Individual contributor level: 2.2 per cent gender pay gap
  • Manager level: 3.1 per cent gender pay gap
  • Director level: 4.9 per cent gender pay gap
  • Executive level: 6.1 per cent gender pay gap

What this says is unless women negotiate salaries at every level of career advancement, they will face serious challenges in terms of pay equity. As it is, the women who experience the most success career-wise are those who suffer the most from the gender pay gap. 

If you negotiate your salary now, you make it easier for other women

We live and work in a culture where talking about salary is as taboo as talking about sex. By making the decision to negotiate your salary, you’re making it a little bit easier for every woman who comes after you to negotiate their salary, too. The fact is that there is an expectation out there that women won’t even try to negotiate their salary (or ask for what they deserve). So … the best thing you can do for yourself and for all other working women in society? Ask for more money.

Want to find out if you’re underpaid? Take PayScale’s free Salary Survey.