Here’s how the gender pay gap affects black women

Thursday marks “Equal Pay Day” for black women. It’s the approximate day their 2018 salaries, plus the amount they’ve earned so far this year, catch up with what white men earned last year alone.

While women overall in the US earn about 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, the pay disparity among some minority female groups is worse than among all women, according to analysis of data from the 2018 Census Bureau of the National Women’s Law Center. Black women, for example, get 61 cents for every dollar paid to their white male counterparts.

The difference over a 40-year career would mean earning about $946,000 less, according to the research.

Colorado Equal Pay Commission member Nancy Reichman joins a rally in downtown Denver, CO. Colorado citizens and activists from 9to5, the National Association of Working Women and Coloradans for Fair Pay, gathered on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol to commemorate the national event. Equal Pay Day.

Craig F. Walker | Denver Post | fake images

“It doesn’t matter what their level of education is, or whether the job is low-paying or high-paying, where they live or what their age is, they face a pay gap,” said Maya Raghu, senior adviser and director of workplace equality. from the law center

The gender pay gap—women earn less than men—has persisted over time. And while it has improved since, say, 20 years ago, wages for black women continue to lag the overall gap. It’s even worse for Native American and Latina women, whose Equal Pay Days won’t arrive until September 23 and November 20, respectively.

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Part of the pay gap can be attributed to personal choice, meaning women in general are more likely to work part-time and take time off over the course of their careers, often to care for their children or other members of the family. family. However, census data shows that the gap is also present among the country’s youngest workers.

Among workers in lower-wage jobs, such as cashiers, homemakers or personal care attendants, black women earn 79 cents for every dollar white men earn.

The median annual salary for the 40 lowest-paying jobs is $23,600 for black women compared to $30,000 for white men. Over a 40-year career, the difference would be $256,000.

In high-paying jobs—ie, lawyers, engineers, doctors—the disparity is worse: Black women typically receive 67 cents for every dollar white men are paid in the same occupation. That translates to $70,000 versus $105,000, and a difference over 40 years of $1.4 million.

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“The gap affects their ability to save money and then their financial security as they get older because they haven’t been able to save as much,” Raghu said.

Even when broken down by educational level, the gap is present.

Among PhDs, for example, black women earn 60% of what white men earn, resulting in an annual loss of nearly $49,000, or more than $1.9 million over the course of a 40-year career. , according to the report.

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Black women also have the highest student loan debt of any racial or ethnic group, according to the legal center. For a college degree, they are around $30,400 in debt, compared to $19,500 for white men.

Meanwhile, a congressional bill aimed at narrowing the gender pay gap passed the Democratic-controlled House in March and sent to the Senate.

He called the Paycheck Fairness Act, The measure would strengthen equal pay laws by making it easier to discover and challenge pay discrimination. It is not known if it will be considered by the Senate.

— CNBC’s John Schoen contributed to this report.

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