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Black Women Equal Pay Day

While women make less than their male colleagues, black women do far worse.

Kate Hogan's picture
by Kate Hogan on
Jul 31, 2017

April 4th is the traditionally “Equal Pay Day” in the United States. This day is meant to pinpoint the additional amount of time it would take a woman to reach the same earning amount a man would have in the previous calendar year. In actuality, April 4th is NOT the true Equal Pay Day for all women. It takes until today, July 31st, for Black Women Equal Pay Day. 

The commonly known statistic that American Women make roughly 80 percent of what their male colleagues make only applies to white women in comparison to white men. Black Women actually make around 63 cents to every man’s dollar.

There are many people who still doubt if the wage gap even exists. They argue that it has nothing to do with race or gender, but with educational difference, hours of work, or what kind of field they work in. While these do make an impact, they do not explain the wage gap.

According to research by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, black women are tied for the highest participation in the labor force among all women. Additionally, black women with a bachelor’s degree are paid 13 percent less than white women with a bachelor’s degree. For black women with advanced degree, that pay gap only shrink by 1%.

At nearly every income level and across all industries, black women are paid less, even in women dominated fields, where you might expect to see a lower gap in the pay differences.

Service occupations tend to be low wage jobs that are filled by women. Nearly 28 percent of employed Black women work in service occupations. They’re paid 30 percent less than their white colleagues.

If the pay gap were closed, on average, a black woman working full time year-round would be able to afford three years’ worth of groceries, almost two years of rent, two years or college tuition fees, and a year of mortgage payments. The average Black women would earn over $840,000 more by the time she retired. That kind of money could change a family’s financial security forever and our nations overall economic health.

The pay gap affects millions of families across the United States. While Equal Pay Day provides a useful opportunity to address the issue of unequal pay between the sexes, it is still important to remember that the wage gap doesn’t affect all women at the same rate.


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