You'd think it would, and I've long advocated for salary openness. Knowing what the average was for the position would certainly help you craft a salary, but an experiment at Hired, said it made the gap even wider.
Jessica Kirkpatrick, Hired's lead data scientist, believed as I did, that once presented with the proper information, women and men would ask for similar salaries. So, she set up an experiment where candidates were presented with the average salaries of people with similar skills. There was also a control group. Here's what happened, according to Quartz:
After testing with thousands of candidates, the gender gap worsened. Women in the experimental group, newly aware of their salary distributions, placed themselves on the lower half of the salary curve. Men, with comparable skills and experiences, tended to assign themselves to the upper half. That led to a gender gap in preferred salaries that was even bigger than the gap among those who didn't see the data at all (women in the experimental group asked for 9.3% less money than men compared to the control group which asked for 4% more money than men).
Yikes. When women knew what the averages were, they said they were below average while men said they were above average.
However, one thing they did uncover was that younger women were more likely to ask for higher salaries than older women, which suggests that maybe things are starting to change.
Knowledge is power. We just need to learn to use it in the right way. Instead of thinking "oh, I'm average," ask yourself if that's really true. Additionally, don't think, "well, if I say I'm worth $95,000 and the job only pays $90,000 I'm out of the running, so I better say $90,000 just in case." Smart recruiters won't eliminate someone who is asking for slightly more than their budget. Budgets are almost always flexible.
So, maybe, ladies, the next time someone asks you about your salary requirements, figure out what you think you're worth and then bump it up by 10 percent. It may pay off in the long run.
Of course, from a hiring manager point of view, if someone is the best candidate, you should offer the appropriate salary, regardless of how much that person has asked for. Don't look for bargains, because you're likely to get resentment and turnover, which saves you nothing.