As a report into the UK gender pay gap recommends sweeping changes to tackle the problem, BBC News talks to women affected by the issues.
The report suggests women should look to non-traditional jobs
Internet company designer Meghan Fenn feels she was sidelined after telling her boss she was pregnant.
She said the commission addressed the discrimination that still exists in some firms.
"My male colleague and I were given raises at the same time and we were both led to believe that our raises were going to be equal," she said.
"I have since found out, after I left the company, that his was five grand more than me."
Dawn Rowley, from York, discovered what she said was a major pay disparity between her and a male colleague.
"I worked for a company and discovered that a male colleague was being paid £3000 more than me for doing exactly the same job and I had more experience and a much higher level of education than him," she said.
"When I approached personnel, they denied they were doing anything wrong and refused to do anything about it. Needless to say I left the company for a much higher paid job."
The commission's report called for flexible working arrangements to be improved and for extra training programmes for women returning to work after having children.
It also believes women should be encouraged to think about non-traditional jobs as well as apprenticeships, especially in sectors with skill shortages.
Ros Woolen's organisation, Sheffield based Women in Non-Traditional Trades and Technologies, has already been striving to address such aims.
She has been helping women train as skilled construction workers and mechanics.
Too many employers in the sector currently "do not want to know" about helping employees manage their home life, Ms Woolen found.
There needed to be changes in those businesses to help workers - both male and female - who found they could only work part-time because of other commitments, she said.
"Women's caring responsibilities last past having children and past bringing up their children," she insisted, "They often have other responsibilities"
She called for a work life-balance that took women right through their lives - "And men; indeed men have lots of responsibilities and should take more responsibility."
Equal rights campaigners and trade unions are disappointed the commission did not call for mandatory pay audits.
Ms Fenn claims she lost out after becoming pregnant
These would require employers to track and correct gender wage discrepancies.
Elizabeth Pullen, a former regional director with a waste management company, believes more transparency about pay arrangements and regular reviews is crucial.
She took her case to an employment tribunal in 2004 after finding out two male colleagues had been on a higher pay scale.
On being made redundant, she discovered her severance package was six months' salary - while her counterparts were offered 12 months' worth of their higher salary.
Ms Pullen said her firm had held an equal pay audit but feels later on "perhaps some of my colleagues complained a lot more and then ended up on significantly higher salary levels".
"I think the target that the government could make is that companies have to be more open about the pay audits, pay arrangements and I think that would actually close the gap or help to," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
However, CBI deputy director-general John Cridland - one of those involved in compiling the report - has insisted equal pay audits "were not the solution".
He said there were only about five cases every year of women winning tribunal cases of unfair pay against private firms.